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Monday, October 1, 2012

Being Engaged

I may have mentioned before that I am a bit of a play-a-phobic. I am on my path to "recovery", but I definitely have moments where I lapse. The last few weeks = some of those "moments."

I've finally had enough of being lame. I know what I need to do. So I dern well better start doing it!

Forgive my self-lecturing. I'm just that fed up with being my selfish-auto-pilot-mama-self. S-A-P-M-S.

Ha! P-M-S! ;)

Pheeeeww... I'm so not  funny.

Point being. When my kids look back at their childhood? I really want them to remember that their mom played side by side with them. And if that is what I want them to remember...well, that is what I need to start doing.

My husband and I have been talking a lot recently about using our children's early childhood to develop strong bonds that will last into teenage-dom, and beyond.

If I don't show my children now, when they are little, that I care about what they care about, that I will listen when they want to talk, that, when invited, I will participate in the things that give them joy, and that I will do special things for them, not because it is what I like, but because it is what they like?

Well, if I don't show them that now, they are definitely not going to trust me and turn to me later in their life, say, in middle school...or high school. And that just scares me up the ying-yang! These are the times when they will really need to know someone else is in their court!

The youth of our world need to know they can turn to their parents for guidance. They need to know their parents desire them to be happy and to succeed, and that we aren't just in it for "control." They need to know we are invested in their lives, because we want what they want... to have a good and an enjoyable life.

 So today, I stopped being lame... and started being AWESOME!!!!

Or, at least, I tried to be. ;)

I put in a different kind of day of "hard work." Today, instead of  watching Good Luck Charlie cleaning the house while Kay and Em played, I sat down and played with them. And I set a rule for myself.

I decided that today I would follow them for as long and as deep into their imaginary play as they desired to go. I would not excuse myself once I became bored. I would not say 'no' just because it required me to step out of my comfort zone. I would not leave them to themselves while escaped to do dishes.

I would be accommodating and I would be engaged.

And... I did alright at it!  Definitely not as great as I could have, but we are looking for progress here, NOT instant, or in other words, unrealistic results.

 Our adventure into uninhibited playtime began by making robots out of Kay's Trio blocks. I made a robot airplane, he made a robot spider, and together we made a robot monster.

We flew our robots down the halls, around the living room, and back into the playroom, until they were, at last, thoroughly exhausted. Like any good pilots would do, we found them some "blankets" and tucked them in for their afternoon nap.  After Kay read them a book, of course.

Well, the robots were sleeping... might as well sleep ourselves!  Kay found a blanket and even laid down an extra pillow, just for me!  I am not one to turn down an opportunity to nap!

 We closed our eyes for a whole rejuvinating .25 seconds, at which point the friendly neighborhood rooster let off a sweet serenade of:



Which, obviously, meant 'Wake up you lazy bums! It's time for a tea party!!!'

Yes, Kay, we can have real snacks at our tea party!

And real "tea"... or in this case delicious, straight from the tap, room temperature water. Look at how carefully he was pouring =]. Proud mama.

Monster robot approved. He approved of the Tea. He approved of the refreshments. He approved of the company.  And, well, I must agree with him on all accounts!

Once Em woke up we made lunch together. We played at the park until Em made it quite clear she was ready for another nap (almost two hours after we got there!). I let Kay help me vacuum.

And so the day went.

What amazed me the most is what I  learned about the capacity and creativity of my own children. When I choose not to curb their desire to explore through play, but instead to facilitate it, their eyes light up, the wheels in their head start turning, and you can see the geniuses light up in their beautiful little faces.

I'm starting to think that I will learn more and gain more from them, than they will ever be able to glean from me. Point being. It was good to turn off the cruise control and to start making real, tangible, memories with my children again.

Forget YOU Pinterest!! Ya ain't nothin' compared to my littles! Psssshhh!


So, my loverlies, how about you? Do you ever find yourself acting in S-A-P-M-S mode? Any tips for break free? All you mommies in blog-land amaze me =].  I'd love to hear your ideas on becoming more engaged in playing and interacting with your children. Every time I try and have a convo with my sons plastic dino? Its like over in, oh, 5 seconds. What do you say to a dinosaur anyways?

 'Mmm, nice weather we're having here today. Yes, yes, it looks cloudy with a chance of a cataclysmic meteor. Simply terrific odds of total extinction! Fascinating!'

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