Pinball and Preschoolers

So…I’ve had a couple of hours to sit in my quiet cozy bed and reflect on today at The Patch….It was a first for me.  I’ve never been able to say, “Today was a total loss” until today…..I feel like a complete failure.  No matter what I tried or what I didn’t try, the day just wasn’t going to be pulled in a better direction……Plus……I have a major head cold…..and the weekend is one more day away…..must….hang….on….until the last tyke is gone tomorrow and then I am going to yell, “Timber” and fall into my bed for the next two days…..I can hardly wait…..

I loved to play pinball as a kid.  The Officer’s Clubs always had the coolest machines and it only cost a dime to play.  The more the silver ball banged and clanged on the bumpers, the higher your score would climb.  I was a whiz at using those foot things to shoot the ball back into play when it rolled down the side alleys.  The sounds that came from these machines were amazing! The more noise you heard, the higher your score….. 🙂

I hadn’t thought about pinball in ages, until today.  Instead of only one silver ball in play, there were six of various ages and stages in play today.  It was the game that just would not end.  Here’s a bird’s-eye view of our room from the ceiling looking down of my day in pinball land:

The Quiet Bump and Walk Move: This tyke is a pro at this move and it is well-practiced.  The goal is to walk quietly by the prey unnoticed and then push the prey to the ground, take the object of desire, and continue walking as if nothing has happened.  If it is done quickly and quietly enough, even Ms. Patty can’t tell why the prey is on the ground crying because there was no sound or confrontation heard or observed…..

The Gallup While You Snatch But Then You Fall On Your Face Move: This tyke reminds me of those “Nailed It!” pictures with one side showing an athlete in perfect stride without a hair out-of-place and the other side showing a chubby child running with hair all in disarray with eyes as big as saucers when the chubby child realizes the ground is going to hurt bad in just a second or two…..This tyke just never gives up.  Several times today, this little critter saw a prize, galloped at full speed towards the prize, and just inches before victory was tasted, the carpet was tasted instead….or the side of the table….or the edge of the wall…..

The Snuggle and Snatch Move:   This tyke will cozy up to their prey and giggle and smile with their prey, but all the while they are calculating the exact piece of skin that will be pinched and how far they have to scoot over to avoid retaliation and still make off with the newly claimed object. I see it coming and am mesmerized by the dramatic showcasing going on….I can’t seem to act quickly enough to disrupt it though….Before my very eyes, the deed is done and tears are flowing and flowing and flowing….. It works every time….EVERY TIME…..

The “I Don’t Hear You or See You, Ms. Patty” Face:   They are all masters of this move.  I can be right next to them or in clear line of vision with them while they are trying to squish their prey into or out of a spot and no words or hand movements by me or acknowledged….Nope…..It’s just too much fun squashing her foot with my knee to stop now…’s just too darn fascinating to pull socks off my screaming prey to stop now…’s just another day in paradise as I am caught yet again drinking from and emptying everyone’s milk cups…..

The Push Down Without Eye Contact Move:  This one was the favorite today…..all day….by all three middle tykes….It is very similar to a cat pushing their kitten down a flight of stairs without any hesitation or reaction. Tyke A will walk by Tyke B and without any hesitation or reaction, Tyke A will push Tyke B to the ground without every stopping their stride across the room.  They do it in slow motion, they do it in warp speed, they did it all day….ALL DAY…..

The Walk-Up Ninja:  This was a favorite tool today.  Tyke A walks right up to Tyke B and smacks Tyke B on the face and then steals object from Tyke C. Tyke B walks right up to Tyke C and pulls Tyke C’s hair and then steals object from Tyke A. Tyke C brings Tyke A an alternative toy and then passes it to Tyke B while taking Tyke B’s original toy because that was the goal all along….

The “Do You Feel This?” Move: Bunny Foo Foo is alive and well at The Patch and today was no different.  Take any object and spy a tyke quietly playing and then bang that object on the head of the quietly playing tyke as hard as you can…..Then look surprised that your friend is now crying and Ms. Patty is giving you “that look” that looks kinda like your Mom’s “look” right before your full name is slowly and carefully over-enunciated….Many many many points were scored with this move today…..

Add a teeny tiny infant to this mix….

Add two older preschoolers who just want to play their games and enjoy their pretend worlds but were constantly interrupted by chaos….

Add a teacher with a head cold who became Ms. Cranky Pants at mid afternoon…..

Sooooo……Here I am in bed, trying to make sense of today and how to avoid tomorrow being a repeat performance…..I don’t think I can do another day in a pin ball machine…

I can however, turn the “light” out on today and just let it be what it was…..a lousy crazy day….So that’s what I am doing.  It was just one day out of almost seven years of good, great, and best days…..That word, “perspective” has popped up once again to help me see what today was….just a day and not a lifetime….just a moment and not a routine…..I really love the word “perspective”….

In spite of all the chaos, all the noise, all the tears and all the chaos (wait….I already said that), these six little pints totally rock my world.  They inspire me daily…..even as bad as today was, they still jumped in my lap with free hugs and wonderful smooches and roped me into singing “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” with them and playing “Where’s Ms. Patty?” where they all try to cover my eyes to hide me and then they find me as I try to look through my finger printed and smudged glasses at the six best hearts to ever connect to mine…..

I do I do I do… them deeply and widely in spite of all the pin ball moves they can create in a single day……and……I am so humbled that at the end of a really sucky day….they still smile and wave and say goodbye to me as they head home and I head upstairs to my comfy cozy bed…..:):):)

Until next time,



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