“Playing is entering your child’s world.” – Lawrence Cohen
When I used to play with Yesha, there were many times when my mind kept on wandering to some other things. Of course it made me guilty that I cannot be fully present with her. I’m not even sure if she notices that mommy’s mind is off to something and that mommy is not really with her.
But I’m glad that recently my playing skill has greatly improved. I discovered that I do great on pretending games. Not only do I enjoy it but so is Yesha. These pretending games seem to be transporting me back to my childhood days where I love pretending. When I was a child I love acting like a nun, a banker, a home maker, a vendor, a singer and anything I could think of imitating.
I can’t wait for the time when Yesha learns to appreciate Barbie dolls and even paper dolls. I love creating characters and stories about them. I even made do-it-yourself house and furniture. Most probably, that would be what I and Yesha will do.
Right now that she’s only 21 months old, these are three of the pretending games that I play with her.
I turned our family crib into a mini classroom where I posted four charts on one of our walls. I gather her stuff toys as if they are my students and then teach them ABC’s, shapes, numbers and colors. And when it’s story time, I huddle the toys around me as if I am reading to them. I ask them questions if they enjoy the story. And I would answer in behalf of them only that I change my voice into something funny.
Yesha enjoys this way more. It helps her stay still and become more attentive.
In this pretending game, I would drape a long towel on my back, along my shoulders down to my wrist and make it my wings. And then I would go chasing her, flapping my wings and closing in on her with my arms. Yesha’s really having fun while she’s being chased by me. She keeps on laughing, giggling and shrieking.
While I pull Yesha’s toy walker with a baby doll in it, she pushes her toy stroller carrying a second baby doll, and then around our house I tour and guide the three of them. In the kitchen where I describe the things we do there and the different appliances, in the living room, computer area and the dining room. Yesha seems to listen attentively, digesting every information I give her.
One thing I cannot do though is how her daddy turn every mundane activity into a game, such as washing her butt, changing her diaper and clothing her. I tried doing this, I slipped a diaper into her stuff toys. Sometimes it works, most of the time it’s not. So what I do is, I just ask for daddy’s help.
After improving my playful parenting skill, I noticed how our emotional connection to each other has improved. Before, I was kinda sad that she’s closer and more fond of her daddy than me. I didn’t take it as a competition or anything. I just realized that I should learn to be more playful with her just like her dad.
When you want to be emotionally connected with anyone, you should be entering their world. Appreciating and valuing things that are important to them. And since Yesha’s world right now is play, then that’s the world where I’m going to dive in. It’s my dream that we have a close relationship with each other, and playing is where I’m going to start it.
So What About You?
What are your favorite games with your kids?