Six sticks of butter, a canister of organic sugar, a large tub of vanilla yogurt, half a bag of pita chips, 4 dozen organic free range eggs, globs of caramel syrup, half a box of oatmeal, a jar of organic nutty peanut butter.
This is neither a recipe or grocery list.
It is a partial list of just some of the items my ninja Indigo has dumped, cracked, scooped, painted, drawn, smooshed, and lathered in during the past few weeks.
I’m exasperated. Worn to the core. No longer do I have the energy for anger when I catch her, silent and slinking behind the kitchen sink where no one can see her, with egg white suspended in mid-drip from her fingers. Next to her, half a dozen cracked brown shells lay victim to her antics.
Her creative messes, I must now call them. My home, apparently her canvas.
We’ve tried fridge locks, gating her out, bribing and warning, yelling and lecturing. I would like to move on; perhaps to a small little fridge in the garage that she will hopefully forget about.
It was my curly-q’d love – in a completely unrelated moment – who hit me with an ah-ha moment.
We spoke at length about her time as a Hare Krishna devotee. The mopping of the temple floor, the lovely little weddings, the love feasts and dancing and chanting through the parks. I thumbed through her well-loved temple directory, listening to her share memories of the members. Intrigued by the Hindu artwork of deities, one of a smirking and chubby infant god Krishna struck me.
“Ohhh, that’s the butter thief”, she cooed with sparkling eyes. “He is a version of a mischievous and naughty Krishna as a young child. His mother would often catch him with his hands in a butter pot. One day she asked him ‘Krishna, why are you stealing the butter?’. To which he replied with a sly smile ‘Stealing? I am not stealing. Oh, don’t you know that it all belongs to me?‘” My friend’s laughter followed.
Eyes wide, I responded “Oh my goodness, of course. Indigo is actually divine! She’s a butter thief!”
Suddenly, the image of Indi as a form of Krishna – all sneaky and wily and totally confident in her play – made sense.
All play is sacred, all play is sacred, all play is sacred.
I repeat it to myself as I catch her with butter smeared on the cabinets. It helps…a little. I sit down with her and we talk about breaking eggs and wasting butter and how we won’t be able to make yummy muffins and cookies and egg sandwiches anymore.
She listens and says “OK, mama” and the next day she’s at it again in one minute flat.
One friend has suggested making some homemade “slime” for her to play with. Great idea, I thought. And I can buy those plastic easter eggs and we can stuff the slime in and let her crack away! Crack crack crack, slime slime slime, play play play. Will that satiate her need to get totally sensory with all of our food items?
Almost all of my friends have giggled and made comments to how she must be practicing to become a gourmet chef. SHE BETTER BE! By the time she’s done experimenting, the food she’s used will be akin to a college fund in cost.
We’ll navigate it together and figure it out; how to encourage her “scientific play” and yet save the eggs. SAVE THE EGGS!, my new rally cry.
For now, I have indeed resorted to buying the cheapest eggs I can find.
I really love another story about Krishna that I found, which reminds me of the holiness of child’s play:
Yasoda (his mother) scolds Krishna for eating mud and, when he denies doing so, forces him to open his mouth. In his mouth she sees the entire universe-the stars and the planets and all the galaxies, all things animate and inanimate, even the senses and the mind.
Perhaps the whole of the cosmos is in our child’s very palms as she creates and builds and destroys and imagines and sings and tromps and mixes and swirls? Maybe mud pies really do taste like yummy chocolate or a tart of love. Do you remember what yours tasted like?
In the middle of writing this, I was interrupted by our girls who had both pooped in their pants and on the floor. As Jason and I stood side by side wiping poop of legs and butts and tile floor, I couldn’t help but whisper under my breath “There must be a deity that poops her pants. There MUST”.
A great gentle, child-guided parenting resource that I’m finding myself immersed in: The Natural Child Project