Wednesday, November 12, 2014

"Want Nothing" Time

Diapers have been changed, warm milk given to fill smallbellies, food has been tried (and eaten), we are between naps…we are having amoment, a quiet lull in our day.  Whether it is for 5 minutes or 30 minutes, there is no care-giving task I need to accomplish.  We play,explore, or crawl on my lap for a hug or check-in.

Magda Gerber calls this time “Want Nothing” time and defines it like this:
“That’s when the parent doesn’t want to do anything with the infant, has no plans other than wanting simply to be with the child: just floor-sitting, being available, being there with all the senses awakened to the child; watching, listening, thinking only of that child."

These are times when I can sit and observe the individual children in my care, how they play and interact, and what materials andactivities catch their attention.  I also get to be with them – with no agenda – just being fully present.  It is a truly beautiful time.  I sit on the floor and am just able to enjoy their presence, share their joys and frustrations, and be available for connection as needed.

In this day of “go faster, do more," it can be a challenge to slow down, be present, and simply observe.  I find that I need to intentionally choose to not accomplish some task (and there is always something that can be done), choose to quiet my inner do-something drive, and, finally, choose to be fully present and available.  It is not easy and something I continue to practice on a daily basis.  But it is a practice I see as truly important – learning to quiet down myself to be fully present and aware of the infants in my care.

“'Want nothing' time is different, more a time for taking in and waiting.  We fully accept the infant’s beingness just by our own receptive beingness.  Our presence is telling the child that we are really there and aware” –Magda Gerber 

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