handstands sarah b

It’s July. Not every minute is crammed with camps or classes. The other day my five year-old draped a Duplo dinosaur with a strand of buttered linguine as if pasta were the new accessory for hard plastic fawn-colored dinosaurs. The dinosaur was “Dinee,” in case you wondered.

“You need to wash the dinosaur,” I told her.

“Dinee, you need a bath now,” she cooed in her talk-to-Dinee voice of that moment.

She headed for the kitchen sink, pulled the sprayer and washed—and washed and washed and cooed and sang and told stories and washed—Dinee.

The next day, her friend Arella came over and they spent a long time practicing handstands on the grass. They also had a couple of spats and ate popsicles before they did more handstands.

The point of these vignettes is so simple: it’s really important—at five or six or 15 or 35—to let nothing happen sometimes. We probably all need more dinosaur wash and handstand practice opportunities. Sometimes, less really is more.

Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser is a freelance writer and blogger whose work has appeared in the New York Times, Brain Child Magazine and Salon the Huffington Post, Babble and Ceramics Monthly. Her essays have appeared in various anthologies including The Maternal is Political and Wait a Minute, I Have to Take Off My Bra. A writer for Preview Massachusetts Magazine, she keeps a personal blog, Standing in the Shadows at the publication’s news site, the Valley Advocate and a tumblr Refractions. She is a sometime contributor to Momfilter. Follow her on twitter–@standshadows or Pinterest.


You Might Also Like

Paula Szuchman
Declare Your Own Holiday
Car Envy: Tesla Model S

Comments (2)


  1. After instituting a no-screens policy between breakfast and dinner, I’ve been overjoyed at finding my 10 year old “putzing around” in his room. He’s not doing anything. Just this and that. And it makes me so happy. So I’ve had to ask myself why the act of old-fashioned unproductiveness makes me feel so productive as a parent. And all I can figure out is that the putzing around is an opportunity for his brain to work differently, more creatively, culling the far corners for ideas and notions that have been sitting there untouched. Or maybe it’s just an opportunity to turn off the noisy, immediate gratification part of the brain that I fear will dominate if I don’t intervene. Either way, it’s a beautiful thing.

  2. Posted by: Babou

    I agree !

    I think that managing their own time is a great thing for kids…
    So is learning to manage a bit of “under stimulation”…

    They have such intense schedules today !
    I remember doing nothing in the summer… just hanging with my friends in my neighborhood, and I had a great time !
    I remember going to my mom as a kid because “i had nothing to do”… she’d just tell me to go about and find someting… and I always did !

Leave a Reply

Yor email address will not be published.
Required fields are marked *

Sign Up

Email Sign Up
We promise not to bug you -
it'll only be good stuff, pinky swear.