Monday, July 28, 2008

Ooooooh, guilty as charged!!!

MomLogic had a guest blogger writing about Attention Baby Disorder.

Here’s how she puts it: Tossing a fabric-covered ball back and forth makes me want to eat a box of Twinkies 'cuz I'm so bored.


Yeah. Oh yeah. {snicker, snort}

Been there. Frequently.

I about died right up at the top: My face is frozen in a smile so insincere it would rival Miss Runner Up's in any pageant.

It’s like she’s been in my house, taking notes!!

So in answer to their question: “Do you ever get bored while playing with your kids?”

Uh…yeah. Yeah, I do. And to Tom, who commented, “If you’re bored playing with your kid when they’re 2+… you have some issues.”…I, uh, apparently have some issues.

Oh, it isn’t that I’m bored playing with them all the time. Shoot, no! I love playing with them…for the first couple hours each day.

But slowly, over time…I start thinking it.

Oh no. Not the fairy unicorn princess game again…c’mon, Danger Mouse, pick something ELSE, will ya?!

Uh…does this story have, you know, an END, Boo Bug…?

Gah…I have 11,762 things I’d rather do than play Wizardology with a cheating 10 year old right now…(Eldest does cheat, you know – shamelessly!)

Yeah, that’s right, we’re NAMING FRUITS. Yay, you know a banana is yellow…{yawn}…

Overall, I love playing with my kids. I find them fascinating and entertaining. They charm me, inspire me, motivate me and otherwise add a depth to my life that I would miss if they were gone. Our playtime gives me something to look forward to, a lot of laughs and frankly, a chance to reclaim my own childhood a bit.

But at the same time, I have other things – grownup things – that I’d like to do, too. Sometimes I am absolutely filled with longing about those things. Even the things that aren’t as much fun as playing fairy unicorn princess or listening to a long, long tale about a puppy who ate a worm.

You play the same repetitive game enough times, I tell you what: Sorting out the mate-less sock drawer sounds exciting, comparatively speaking. And the very young child tends to really dig doing the same.damned.thing, sixty million times per day.

Right now, I am sick to death of playing the Lightning McQueen and Mater Drive Around and Around and Around the Coffee Table game. Captain Adventure is enthralled with that self-invented game at the moment. Skidding into the room, he will yell out: “Go DIS way! C’mon, mommy! Go DIS way! Is Cars! RED car, BROWN car, vroom, vroom, VROOM!!! KA-CHOW!!!!!”

Gah. Again?! Can’t we do something else? Or maybe couldn’t you do this, you know, solo, this time?!

Now, don’t be like that, I’ll scold myself, as I begin obediently running Mater (I’m always Mater) up and down, around the obstacle courses Captain Adventure has put into place, a plastic smile glued to my face and my Dora-inspired play-voice urgently and optimistically responding to his cues: “Where is the red block? Right! There’s the red block, good thinking! Where do we go next…”

Meanwhile, my mind is wandering. Far, far away it wanders. Counting the hours until preschool starts, my three hour break from the constant mommy-mommy-mommy, the urgent demands that I engage in non-urgent activities. Wondering how long before he’ll be ready to move on to a new game. Pondering the state of the laundry, or tonight’s dinner. Thinking about the cash flow (or lack thereof) and how much work I have to do before the sun sets today…

Feeling guilty for my lack of absolute attention to this valuable play. Valuable! Essential, really, building the nuts and bolts of his language and communication. I should be reveling in his desires to include me, blissfully sunk in his acceptance of a partnership-play, cherishing these moments while they are here for lo! Soon, he shall be grown and flown…

…mmmmm…youngest child, grown and flown…imagine the knitting time…NO! Stop that! Focus…focus on the play…

…around, and around, and around the coffee table…red block, blue block, back again…vroom-vroom, ka-chow says Lightning, git-er-done says Mater, ha ha ha, that’s right…{yawn}…I wonder if we have any Twinkies…


Leoal said...

Oh I know what you mean. I only have the one, but my husband is deployed overseas right now so I am with him 24/7. I have had five (5) breaks in the last 3 months of more than an hour without the boy, and one of them was getting the brakes replaced on the car.

I am tired of Thomas/Mavis let's go around the track together conversations, I am tired of Goldfish Cracker conversations, I am tired of playing hide under the blanket.

Maybe I should call a babysitter.

21stCenturyMom said...

I was never good at playing with my kids (although I did it). I was really good at holding them, touching them, kissing them and I loved doing craft stuff but playing? No. Not me. My mother NEVER played with us when we were kids. The very idea would make her cringe. Kids play with kids or by themselves.

So to Mr. "You've got Issues" I say - HA! Kids who depend on their parents for entertainment develop issues.

You're the Queen of Play as far as I can tell.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear. You've just described my day. But funnier. I was playing Hot Wheels with my three year old yesterday and feeling guilty for not loving it!

Yarnhog said...

I loved her post--thanks for the link. I was startled by the negative comments, though. I nearly died of boredom when my kids were babies, and I can't imagine anyone not finding playing games directed at the skill level of a 2-year-old to be boring.

And I agree with some of the other comments here: my mom NEVER played with us! That's what other kids are for. It would never have occurred to me to ask my mom to play with me. I do play with my kids (always have), but these days I mostly expect them to entertain themselves. I'm a mother, not a camp counselor.

Louiz said...

Oh yes. I went back to work rather than spend all day with my beautiful, beloved, clever... toddler daughter. Maternity leave just about did my head in. I'm actually grateful for the fact that our finances insisted that I did it. I admire stay at home mums, but don't know that I could do it myself.

Lydee said...

I too find it hard to play with my little ones. It takes a monumental effort on my part to motivate myself to do it. Usually though, I expect them to entertain themselves or play with each other- without destroying anything!

Quilty bird said...

My youngest DD started playing Monopoly at age 8. And, really, how could I not play!? Think of the Math we're learning! Anyway, after hours of play, when I'd finally go bankrupt (she cheats too) she'd want to LEND ME MONEY so we could keep playing! Arghhh! "No, honey. The.!"

Anonymous said...

It doesn't take an intelligent person to play with a child - I rather think that's a drawback as the sheer boredom overtakes you. It does, on the other hand, take an intelligent, loving, patient person to raise a child, which is the goal after all. (Because if you raise them right, they move out someday, and the alternative is unthinkable!)

Anonymous said...

I think a lot of moms have some guilt feelings about not playing with their kids as much as they "should" (who decides how much is enough?). But you know what? I believe a child who is capable of amusing him/herself for some period of time is going to be a more capable adult. How many of us have someone guiding and directing our every activity? Part of my job as a mom is teaching my kids to be self-sufficient, and that includes letting them find their own means of occupying their time. Obviously this is something that happens over time, in stages - but it does need to happen.