As a former modern dancer, I find it fascinating to look at movement in nature. It’s fun to observe animals busy gathering food, and to watch trees as they move in the wind. I created If I Were a Tree as a movement story to invite children to explore the sounds and motion of a being tree in the wind. When sharing the story with preschoolers, I find they like to move in all different ways, so I created this movement story video, pretending to be a tree blowing in the wind and rain and sun. As you watch, I hope you and your children will move along with me in whatever way you wish! You can purchase If I Were a Tree in audio, video, or together. See info and lyrics below.
If I were a tree,
I would stand tall,
Just like me.
And when it would rain and thrunder,
I would curl my branches,
And when the sun would come out,
I would wiggle my leaves,
And when a gentle breeze would blow,
I would bend my branches down,
If I were a tree,
I would stand tall,
Just like me.
My recollection from my early relationship with my sister is pretty sketchy, but today I am totally fascinated with what I observe in siblings in the PlayMove&Sing classes I teach.
In sharing music, movement and playtime alongside identical twins, fraternal twins, toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergarteners, I am reminded how very fragile these relationships are. And there’s such a tender balance between all the feelings that come up.
…Love… curiosity… frustration… affection… aggressiveness… trust… jealousy… protectiveness… respect… competitiveness… interest… fascination… thrill… fear… tolerance… conspiracy… patience… ownership… awe… rivalry… compassion… to name a few!
And it seems amidst all these emotions, that while trying to learn how to hold onto ‘one’s own place’ in the presence of the other, siblings have the potential to either grow together, or grow apart.
I’m not sure what this is dependent on – how much of it ‘just happens’, how much of it has to do with parenting, how much is determined by the temperament or nature of each child, or the potential impact of being the first born, the second born, the third born. But I am sure that by taking extra special time to interact with each sibling individually, and also to take time to show them in the presence of each other that they are each ‘cherished beings’, we will lessen their need to take from each other what they wish to have for themselves.
And in this, they will be given the opportunity to feel that sharing is like receiving, and also, that when sharing isn’t possible, there’s a respectful way to express the need to hold onto what one feels is ‘one’s own’.
At concerts when I perform, and in classes when I teach, I often see young children delightedly accompanied by a cherished grandparent, and I am always touched at how special these relationships are. I’ve also learned that, not only are grandchildren often accompanied by a favorite grandparent at an event, but they are also often receiving significant ‘grandparent childcare’ on a regular basis.
I meet many families where both parents work, and have reached out to their own parents to assist with childcare. And in many classes I teach, the number of children accompanied by a grandparent (as opposed to mother, father or babysitter) may represent up to half of the class. This seems an increasing number, and although I don’t know what the growing trend means, I do see that both grandparents and grandchildren clearly love being together!
Grandmothers do seem to come more often than grandfathers, (although not exclusively), and one grandmother attended my classes with three different grandchildren over a span of several years! She was an incredibly devoted grandparent and helped her daughter complete medical training while having children.
I feel it is a tremendously loving commitment that grandparents express when they give time and care, offering their wisdom, love, and experience – and these are qualities only a grandparent can share. One grandmother in particular attended my classes and concerts for years, and she has become a very dear friend. She continues to teach me many things about the love, patience and guidance a grandparent can bring, and I hope one day to share the same discovery with grandchildren of my own.
Over the years I have been privileged with many glimpses into mother and daughter relationships, and I continue to be deeply touched. There is an indescribable bond, a mysterious sharing and mutual understanding not easily described. It’s as though mother and daughter have a pre-verbal agreement, a private language all their own – a kind of sensing, a shared intuition, and a mutual acknowledgement. It sometimes seems as though mothers and daughters are one person looking out through two sets of eyes.
In pondering how to honor and support this special mother/daughter relationship, I attempt to give my full and sincere attention to the mystery and unique passage they share together as it unfolds.
In the classes and workshops I teach, I offer gentle, engaging activities to assist in joining mother and daughter together through play, learning, and joyful experiences. I once heard someone say that the best way to help a child is to love that child’s mother. I wholeheartedly agree.
This is the first in a series of posts on the nature of relationships. My interest in adult/child relationships is inspired by the parent/child toddler classes I teach when I visit libraries, community centers and the YMCA, and when I perform.
In my role sharing music and movement play with families, I am privileged to observe many touching moments that reflect the quality of caring and commitment parents share with their children – and in particular, between father and son. This unique relationship offers a touching glimpse into the nature of bonding, learning, and trust.
There is a father who attends one of my classes with his baby boy every week and who is totally devoted to providing stimulating and meaningful experiences for his son. The interaction between them shines with a quality of enthusiasm, caring, and inexhaustible attentiveness that’s clearly required in the first few years of life. In this relationship, the father seems deeply inspired to offer his full attention to his son, creating a relationship for a lifetime. The unspoken communication between them through gesture, facial expression, affection, acknowledgement and affirmation brings a quality of encouragement, guidance, and support that opens the heart.
Not every father has the opportunity to be a ‘stay at home’ dad, but for each father and son relationship, there can be many, many moments created specifically throughout each day and week to help nourish this very special bond. There’s nothing more rewarding than watching a father and son build their present/future together.
My family just returned from a trip to Japan and I wanted to share some images from our time there. We had many incredible impressions, and in particular were touched by the special affection that is given to children, and also the care that is shown toward animals, plant life, art and architecture.
We stayed in Kyoto during the Daimon-ji Gozan Okuribi celebration when families come together to honor those who have gone before, and to spend holiday time together. The mood was festive and gave us many opportunities to experience this modern/ancient culture.
We visited the Arashiyama Monkey Park and fed the monkeys.
Monkey on Telescope
Sukey Feeding Monkey
And then we visited a temple in Nara where hundreds of deer
live out in the open among the visitors.
This is my son taking a selfie.
Taking a Selfie with Deer
Another Favorite Deer
And throughout our trip we saw many ancient Jizu shrines to honor children past and present.
Jizu Shrine with Boy and Girl
We visited the aquarium (in Osaka).
Seal at the Aquarium
And an ancient temple with a gigantaic pillar that children love to crawl through.
Boy Peeking Out of Pillar
Our family had a very special trip and will long remember the generosity and spirit of the Japanese people.
It’s been so much fun this summer with classes and shows at libraries and camps, and I’ve been making lots of new friends! With PlayMove&Sing Classes, and my Sukey Molloy & Friends shows, we’ve all had fun playing and singing with pails, shovels, felt boards, scarves, bells, balls, stix, spoons, coloring pages, gym equipment and more. It’s been a blast! Here are some pictures of what we’ve been up to. Have a great rest of summer. See you in the fall!
Tick Tock & Friends ‘in Felt’ (Orange County, NY)
Sunny & Friends ‘in Felt & Crayon’ (Orange County, NY)
Three Little Ducks ‘in Felt’ (Rockland and Orange Counties, NY)
When writing Sunny’s Song (on my I Am Happy album) I especially wanted Sunny to have a song all her own, just like Tick Tock. Animating Sunny’s Song on the upcoming Sukey’s Circle! Vol. 4 DVD, for me, will be a very special treat.
In the song, Sunny puts on her hat and boots, plays with a ball, and then plays with a pail and shovel. And of course, everything she wears is yellow.
Making Sunny in felt is great fun for young children. They can assemble the face, add the limbs, attach the rays, and add the ball and pail and shovel. For children who have seen Sunny on stage, on TV (on BabyFirst in the US and Latin America), or in the classroom will find this is especially fun.
This third post is about one of my favorite children’s songs, Five Little Ducks. The song lends itself well to felt art/play, and you can include as many ducks as you can make! It’s a great activity for counting, adding, and subtracting, and can be sung all together while using individual storyboards. Hiding individual ducks under ‘hills’ when they disappear during the song works well. The children love hiding the ducks, and bringing them back.
Five Little Ducks is about a mother and her ducks who, one day, go over the hill and far away, and one by one, the young ducks do not return. In my CD (listen below), the ducks return one by one at the end of the song, and happiness is restored. This is the perfect song to accompany felt art creations.
Five Little Ducks is one of the songs that will be included on my new Sukey’s Circle! Vol. 4 Mini Animations DVD scheduled for production in 2014. You’ll be hearing soon about my upcoming Kickstarter Campaign!
Here’s my second post on Creating Felt Art & Song!
Colors of the Rainbow (from my I Like to Sing album), features lyrics about the many different colors we see in the rainbow, the many shapes all around us, and the many numbers in the universe beginning with one through ten.
I like to use several large felt boards on the floor, (I make them myself), with lots of rainbow shapes, colors, and numbers for all to share. The children can move around freely, sharing the space with friends and family, and explore the many different possibilities as they maneuver the pieces. There is no right or wrong way to play with felt. It’s simply a wonderful invitation to touch and discover.
When we’re ready to sing, I invite the children to bring their felt pieces to the standing board and easel. As we sing the different verses of the song, the children place their felt on the board, and in the end, we stand back and look at all we’ve created.
Colors of the Rainbow is to be included on my new Sukey’s Circle! Vol. 4 Mini Animation DVD, scheduled for production in 2014. Watch for more info.
And stay tuned for upcoming posts on Five Little Ducks and Sunny’s Song!