I did something out of the ordinary today, and it was worth it.
With one of my kids. And-
I enjoyed it.
The reason this is noteworthy is because it’s out of the norm. And my grisly confession to you all is,
I can’t remember the last time I played with one.
because I normally hate to play with them.
Before you shriek in horror, let me unpack that. I do bond with my babies in all sorts of loving, meaningful ways. I hug them and smother them with kisses. I joke with them, and make a fool of myself for their benefit (and let’s be honest, mine). I make sure their clothes are clean, their bodies fed with nourishing, wholesome foods (unless you’ve read my food post. Then I take that back).
I take them on exciting outings, arrange their socialization through playdates, tuck them in each night, yada-yada-yada, and make sure they know they are cherished. And I buy them fun stuff.
Fun stuff for them to play with. Alone, or with each other.
So I don’t have to.
I know I sounds like an ogre (the ugly, non-Shrek kind), or at least a hateful, detached mom. I’m neither. I love my babies so much that sometimes when I look at them. I feel like my heart swells up and can just burst. So what’s my problem? Two-fold, I think…
1. I’m competitive– yup, I’m one of those jerks that will challenge your word in Scrabble. Or rather, I won’t, because I’m polite. On the outside. But I’ll simmer on the inside and resent you for your stupid word-that-isn’t-a-word. I play to win. And if given the chance, I WILL hustle to the Candyland castle before my kids. And likely trash-talk them on the way. But I’ll clean up the cards when they burst into tears, throw them, & stomp away.
…just kidding. They don’t do that. I do, though. On the inside.
2. Kids’ Games Are Lame (read: I have no imagination)… I can handle a board game. Cards… eh. But the imaginary games? Nooo. Three minutes into a tea party, and I’m the rude guest who jams the cake into my mouth and takes off. “No, no more tea. I’m full… so… this was fun…” I have a hard time pretending you’re a puppy, even if you painted your nose with brown Magic Marker, because… you’re not a puppy in REAL LIFE. And now I have to use seven wipes to clean the marker off, because it’s NOT washable…
(I warned you… I’m kind of a jerk. But I’m nice about trying to avoid playing.)
3. I’m Busy…All.The.Time. The reality of being a mom of six is… well, I’m a mom taking care of six kids. And in order to keep a steady, well maintained home, that requires me to work HARD. And I’m so used to going-going-going that if I’m asked to stop and, well, play, I feel flustered. Usually because I’m already in the middle of mopping up at least one spill, halting two kids from smacking each other with Wii remotes, and carting off a third load of laundry.
So stopping time to make myself comfortable on the floor in order to enter a make-believe world does not come naturally. I usually try to off-load the request onto another sibling, who is generally more than happy to take my place.
Today was in keeping with my normal busyness. The kids and The Captain were occupied in various activities; I was preoccupied with laundry. As I stacked and folded, #5 (2 yrs old) approached me, a Little People doll clasped in her chubby hand.
#5: “Mama, play?”
And I felt it. That tug.
I should mention that #5 s pretty much a living, breathing doll; she’s the cutest little brown-eyed munchkin ever. The family favorite among the siblings.
So I caved.
We sat beside her Little People castle, and for 15 minutes, we danced. We dined. We sat in little teeny chairs.
Well, technically. Our Little People figures did, anyway. And they had a blast.
And I remembered just how amazing the sounds of a delighted little girl’s giggle are. And I learned that my way of answering the castle doorbell is hysterical– all 47 times.
And I remembered how this– this is what matters.
It’s not that the game was fun. It wasn’t. It was still lame. It was still boring to make the princesses talk, and to jam them into their tiny plastic chairs. And put them back when they fell out. And back in again. And again… What was fun was making my little girl laugh. And seeing her delight in being with me, having a moment. Such a simple, ordinary moment.
Yes, I’m still incredibly busy. And there is still so much to be done, every day. But I was jolted, pleasantly, back to the reality that I, too, need to stop and play. Not just for the kids’ sakes, but for mine, too.
Not that I can promise to be nice about it…. want to play chess, #1?…
Bring it. And bring your notebooks and pencils… ’cause you’re gonna get schooled.
© Copyright 2013 Six Pack Mom, All rights Reserved. Written For: Six Pack Mom