Saturday, April 10, 2010

Child's Play

Playing with my kids is not a natural response or desire. I always have something that I feel needs to get done and honestly, I'm just not wired that way. Just about anything sounds more enticing to me than entering their world of innocence and make believe. I love my kids and enjoy them thoroughly but child play is often left to my husband.

I have friends who find time daily to play with their children. I'll read their Facebook statuses about how they took their kids to the park, spent time painting inside on a rainy day or baked cookies with them. These women know the light-heartedness experienced when they seize the moments and find enjoyment in playing with their child.

The past couple of days I have stopped and shared in the fun of Play-Doh with my toddler. I suppose that I may be deceiving by painting a mental picture that I "shared the fun". My motivation was more likely that Play-Doh was the only way I could distract my screaming child from hanging on my leg. It was almost a welcomed relief. When we opened each container we found that the once fresh and separated colors were now lumpy and blended. This is a sign of the fun the kids normally have with their daddy. I actually found myself attempting to reseparate the colors between cutting fun shapes out for my child. Maybe Play-Doh just wasn't a good choice for an attempt at child's play.

When my middle child begged me to play a game of Chess with her, I found myself attempting to get out of it by responding with, "I don't really know how to play." "That's okay," she assured me. "I will teach you cuz Daddy taught me." Seeing as how I had just spent time consoling her over the fact that her daddy took her sister to play Chess for a school activity she incorrectly assumed she would get to be a part of also, I didn't have the heart to outright tell her "no". I attempted to entertain my little one with Play-Doh as I listened to my preschooler instruct me on the rules of the game of Chess. While I honestly do not know exactly how to play chess, I did know enough that I was going to have to get over my hang-ups about "following the rules" immediately or this was going to be a miserable experience for her. I quickly caught on to my 4-year-old's "rules of the game" and played along until my king was "captured" and she could claim victory. Sadly, I was relieved that I could now declare it "bath time" and get on with the next task.

I think that I am possibly a little too uncomfortable with disorder and fun. I claim to be the "responsible" one in the family but really maybe I'm just the big dud. I find myself asking a lot of questions lately on how I wanted to be remembered when I'm gone. Do I want my children to be able to say, "Mom kept our Play-Doh like it was new; every color in its original container and she followed all the rules all the time"? I think it is more likely that I would want to be remembered with "Mom took the time to play with me often and showed me I was important enough and loved by setting aside her own expectations and desires."

Maybe there is something to be said for mixing Play-Doh and being creative with making up rules for new games. As a matter-of-fact, I think I'll go join the fun that's be experienced outside right now. I may even agree to play with the sand. Although my urge is to go grocery shopping while I have the opportunity to without the kids.

Change can be good. It's just a tough one for me to embrace.


  1. These honest moments you share with us, are why I love you so much. It is refreshing to read how you are feeling...I too took out PlayDoh this morning, and colors were mixed. Suprisingly it didn't bother me in the least. Ok, well maybe there was a tinge of wanting to fix it. But heck, it's just cheap play doh, and Natalie didn't care! Hope you have a good weekend enjoying your girls and all they have to teach you!

  2. Tristi, I seriously think that we are related somehow (well, I know how ;)) But really, I am the SAME way. I have a very hard time "wanting" to play. Now and then I will accept a board game because I know that there is an end to it -- I can't get into the whole make believe type of play. I LOVE that they have such great imaginations, but just don't want to participate in that. Gotta run to my 4 year old that is calling me...

  3. I totally agree with all the Stacy said.

  4. I really enjoy your honesty, Tristi.

  5. I am glad you are taking time to play. I play all the time,but on the flip side I need to be more responsible and do things to keep the house going instead of using playtime with Lorelei as an excuse. Thanks for getting me to think about this.