I try to spend time with my kids. Often I’m busy with things like housework, driving, cooking, laundry, etc. But I do try.
My 5yo daughter only has school twice a week, so there are two mornings where it’s just me and her at home. She thrives on quality time together, so I try to do as much with her as I can. I had the time with my older ones when they were little, so now it’s her turn.
Sometimes we cuddle up and watch a movie. Today it was Ralph Breaks the Internet. It was good, and I love her chaotic cuddles. But then she got bored of the movie (as five year olds are wont to do), and wanted me to play a game with her.
We have this little game called Pancake Pile-up, which is rarely used as it was intended…especially after the little spatulas that came with the game were broken. Today, she wanted to pretend she had a restaurant where I would come in, look at the menus and then order a pile of pancakes that she made.
We did this over and over at least 12 times. It was cute enough that I didn’t lose patience, because we got to take turns being the customer and the cook. So that wasn’t so bad, honestly.
It’s the times where my children plead with me to play Barbies, Lego’s or other toys with them. I would say that I still have a pretty active imagination, but when it comes to playing with toys again, it’s definitely broke.
I used to love playing with toys, too! I played G.I. Joes with my brothers, or Ninja Turtle action figures. I would play baby dolls (Cabbage Patch, of course), Pound Puppies, or Barbies with my older sister. I had a small collection of Troll dolls that I would take out into my backyard and pretend they were lost and had to “survive” in the wilderness. It was awesome and fun!
Why I can’t get to that place anymore is beyond me. I know we all grow and mature and our minds and tastes change, but when I look back on how much fun and satisfaction I got out of those little play sessions, it strikes me as interesting that I just can’t get that same feeling anymore.
So whenever my kids ask me to play with them… I usually end up faking it somehow. If it’s Barbies, I will organize their homes and cars, etc, and play with their hair and dress them up, but coming up with a story line? Pff. Nope. If it’s Lego’s, I’m the Pro Piece Finder, dubbed so by my son, who is a Master Builder (dubbed so by me). Other toys, I just glance at with a dubious expression and say, “Mommy’s Imagination’s Broke.” They argue, of course, and I try. But they can always tell when it’s half-a…., uhm… not sincere.
When I have the energy, I love wrestling with them, or chasing them around in the dark and pretending to be a monster. Last time I did that, though, I pulled a muscle in my neck when trying to hide under the counter, and I couldn’t turn my head for almost a week. Hooray for aging!
As they get older and lose interest in their toys, I wonder if I will look back on these days and regret not playing more. I don’t have a lot of regrets as far as my parenting is concerned at this point, because I know I’ve done my best with what I’ve had, and I’ve definitely gotten better as a mom. But as they do get older, I enjoy their company and conversations, their insights and ideas. They’re smart kids–probably something inherited from their father.
So maybe I won’t have any regrets someday. I certainly hope not. In the mean time, you’ll find me on the floor, brushing Barbie’s hair. Or reading Dr Seuss. Or breaking my back trying to find a Lego in the carpet. Whatever it takes to show my kids I love ’em. Even if my imagination’s broke.