It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Where have I been?

Hello! I’m still alive! Sorry about my vanishment, for those of you who have been so kind as to express concern. The rest of you who have wandered off, never to return, well, that’s my own fault, isn’t it?

What’s been going on with me? Well, nothing precisely, but it’s really good! You know my personal Happiness Project? You can blame it. Yup. Gretchen may have been able to blog through hers, but I’m finding that mine is so damned successful, it’s taking away my inclination to blog.

It’s going like this:

Week one: I was having trouble remembering my project. I’d get to the end of the day, and I’d be entering all these rotten exes, because I just plain old forgot I was supposed to be doing it. Boooo. I hate exes in my chart. All those exes were not contributing to my happiness! When it comes to charts and assignments, I am a keener. Always have been. My charts always have rows of checkmarks. My assignments always have gold stars. Even self-assigned assignments. Actually, as I get older and need external validation less and less especially self-assigned assignments. They mean more.

I had to make this thing less forgettable. I mounted the chart on a wall where it would be hard to miss.

Week two: I’m doing better, but I’m still forgetting! It’s getting better, but still, I’ll be halfway through a day and suddenly remember that the story-time, which is supposed to happen before naps, didn’t. Or I’ll be waving the last one out the door and remember I forgot to sing with them. Damnit, anyway. I want to do this stuff! I like doing this stuff! When it’s happening — which is more and more frequently — I’m really enjoying it. But I’m still forgetting too much. (Absent-mindedness. It’s a curse.) It’s also interfering with my rows of checkmarks.

Wait. Maybe that’s the problem. The chart, though in an obvious spot, is pretty low-key. Tidy little inked notations on a pale blue grid. It needs to call attention to itself. It needs to be gaudy.

Two sharpies later, my chart no longer sports neatly subdued checks and exes. Now it is resplendent in red and green boxes. THERE ARE TOO MANY RED BOXES ON MY CHART.

Week three: I’m hitting my stride. There’s only one red box under ‘outing’, but that’s because we had ice rain/hail that day. That day, there is a green box under ‘craft’, which we only do twice a week. Mwah-ha. I am winning at Chart!

I’m also winning in the daycare. The whole tenor of the place is improving, day by day. By doing all these things, I’m feeling more professional and competent, I’m feeling more nurturing, more organized, more loving. Am I happier?

Damned straight I am. By a mile.

It’s not that we were all wallowing in misery before. We did crafts (you’ve seen them!), we played games, we read stories. It’s just that now I’m being more focussed and intentional about it all. Less drifting. When you drift, it’s too easy to say “Ah, I’m tired today. I’ll just throw some crayons and paper down, instead of organizing something more labour-intensive.”

And that’s okay, some days. But in the winters, I do that sort of thing more often, and eventually, I find myself wandering around in a bit of a grey malaise. A child does something cute, I smile. Now? A child does something cute, I laugh. I’m laughing a lot these days.

‘Swonderful.

We’re into week five now, and red squares are few and far between. More importantly, I’m laughing a lot these days. And because I am the emotional centre of this place, they are laughing a lot more these days. And their happiness feeds mine. It’s a virtuous circle, people, and I’m loving it.

When I started, I didn’t foresee this level of satisfaction. I thought it would be satisfying, sure; I thought it would likely work, or I wouldn’t have bothered. I thought the process of improving, tidying up, tweaking my professional behaviour would make me feel better about myself.

But I had no idea how the joy would explode around me.

We are not running around in bliss 100% of the time. These are toddlers. They are still cranky, petulant and demanding at times. They still clobber each other once in a while. I get annoyed once in a while.

But, in general terms? It’s so good. Joy is not too strong a term for the spikes of happiness that occur, often several times a day. Certainly you could call it ‘glee’.

So why have I not been blogging about all this wonderfulness?

Well, because I’ve been busy living it.

However, sitting down this morning and pounding out this post has been fun, too, so I think you’ll be seeing more of me. Thanks for hanging in!

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April 16, 2012 - Posted by | daycare, health and safety | , ,

13 Comments »

  1. I’m committed to your blog, have been for nearly 6 years (I think)! So you go and become joy-centred and share that when you can! I imagine I’m not the only one who will love reading your insights. 🙂

    Comment by ccrot | April 17, 2012 | Reply

  2. Good for you. We’ll wait to hear about it later

    Comment by My Kids Mom | April 17, 2012 | Reply

  3. Welcome back!!

    By now, I’m sure you know, I’m not going anywhere, anytime soon.

    Enjoy the joy 🙂

    Comment by Tammy | April 17, 2012 | Reply

  4. Good to see you back again… I need some of that joy please!

    Comment by Gillian | April 17, 2012 | Reply

  5. Glad things were okay!

    Comment by Kate | April 17, 2012 | Reply

  6. Yay for joy & positivity & posting! 🙂

    Comment by Ms. Huis Herself | April 17, 2012 | Reply

  7. I’m glad to see you back but I’m even more glad to know why you were gone! How great that one person’s attitude shift can make so many people happy 🙂

    Isn’t it, though? Also a bit of a responsibility — a burden, some days. True, nonetheless. Like you, I’d rather see the positive of it!

    Comment by May | April 18, 2012 | Reply

  8. Glad to see you’re back, missed all your fun little stories. What songs do you sing for the kiddos? I’m afraid my song list isn’t very detailed and I can only sing Itsy Bitsy Spider so many times before I want to pull my hair out (funny how it’s DD favorite song).

    Comment by Melissa V | April 18, 2012 | Reply

  9. Sounds like I need to read this book!

    Well, yes and no. It’s a biography of one woman’s particular year, and as such there’s lots of stuff that wouldn’t apply to everyone. I read it and took away principles, but a couple of my friends tried to read it and couldn’t finish, because they found the author so annoying. (I suspect Ms. Ruben can be difficult IRL.) In fact, having also read “The How of Happiness” by Sonja Lyobomirsky, I’d say THOH covers the same material (and covered it first) and with much more time (25 years clinical practice and research), effort and actual studies to back it up. The Happiness Project is the popular, easy-read version. Both are worth reading, though, if you can get past Gretchen’s quirks…

    Comment by IfByYes | April 18, 2012 | Reply

  10. I’m so glad to see you’re back. I never commented before, but I love your blog. Been following you a long time. Thanks for all the great ideas over the years.

    Comment by neuro | April 19, 2012 | Reply

  11. My daughter showed me Zerlina’s year’s record from her pre-school. It’s a ring binder with photos and hand-written comments from every day showing what she did, said and how it relates to educational targets. Though it’s lovely to see the photos (and it’s notable how solemn she looked there a year ago and how happy she looks now), the detail is frankly ludicrous. Interesting, but in terms of the time spent, way OTT.

    Comment by Z | April 22, 2012 | Reply

  12. […] been implementing them with a respectable degree of consistency ever since. And the […]

    Pingback by Happiness Resolutions Follow-up: My surprise « It’s Not All Mary Poppins | May 9, 2012 | Reply

  13. […] of my ability I smile, and I am gentle, and I am kind. A lot of the time, it works (remember my Happiness Project?). It works to the point that my mood genuinely turns around, and the smiles and laughter and play […]

    Pingback by Refreshed. Aaaah. « It’s Not All Mary Poppins | March 26, 2013 | Reply


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