It took a while to dig out the kid in me. Becoming a young professional,a wife and then a mother all entailed increasing amounts of maturity. There's the deadlines to meet, the helpers to manage, the budget to balance, the adjustments to address. Not once did I need to channel my inner child to resolve these situations. As adults we're kind of forced to mute all our childhood voices so as not to be called well, childish. When I was pregnant, I doubted my mother's instinct would ever kick in and resolved that I wasn't the “playing-type.” Flash forward to 21 months of motherhood and here I am advocating child's play. The irony!
It's been a constant exercise in de-adulting myself to finally reach that kid lurking inside me. And you know what? I think she's always been there. I just REALLY forgot. (how many times did you use that excuse when you were a kid?)
But now that I think about the past couple of months, I have been unconsciously imprinting my childhood on my daughter and it has been rejuvenating. What else could it be? I remember my school days desk, my sticker book, my playdates, my imaginary friend, and most importantly the feeling that time was endless. I remember the turon, the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and the eggs and ketchup with rice. I remember feeling like the world (my house) was huge.
I remember having only one modus operandi - explore - and that time was endless. There's no such thing as schedule, time management and agenda in a kid's world. This morning my daughter was not interested in learning a new activity (agenda: learn the alphabet). In my attempts to improvise (read: impose my agenda), the irritation was equivalent to my husband changing the channel from Oprah to the Masters. The lesson: just let her be. So I stood back, witnessed, and assisted. She directed me to retrieve her writing materials from the shelf. She then grabbed the giant pen and walked over to her alphabet poster and pointed to every other letter while singing her ABCs. (Translation: Mo-om, I don't need anymore alphabet activities. I know it already!)
In this instant of non-agenda, my daughter taught me (for a change) that it's not about the activities we do, it's the time. Sharing time with her is the best activity of all. I say share because I don't always have to be active in her play- we're both doing our own thing but I see her and she sees me. We basically tune in to each other for commercial breaks. Just in case she needs a pick me up, I do go and find an activity or rehash an old one that could enrich our time together. But sometimes I don't need any props at all: playing peek a boo over and under a table is enough to throw her into a fit of giggles, a funny face- a funny sound, or mommy-being-a-silly-kid seems to be her favorite kind of play.