Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Kiddie Games & Mommy Guilt

I have a terrible confession to make…

I kinda hate playing with my kid.

Doesn't that just sound awful? But it's true! I can't stand it! I try, I really do. Every now and then I'll realize that I haven't played with her recently and feel guilty about it. Cuz sometimes I feel like she needs help, ya know? Like, I think she forgets that certain toys are there, even though they are literally RIGHT THERE. Or that she forgets HOW to play with them. I feel that in order to be a good mom, I need to remind her of these things, because as I am so often reminded myself, play is her work, right? I need to help her grow and develop!

So I'll amble on over to her little play corner where she's sort of paused and is gazing blankly at the same toy she's been playing with for roughly three or four days now, and attempt to shake things up.

This is going to be fun! We are going to bond and make memories and it is going to be freaking magical!

This is when my first stumbling block presents itself. Not having been 14 months old for almost 28 years now, I stare into her toy bin and find that I can't think of anything to do with these things. How many times can you stack and unstack that ring-stacker-thingy? What exactly is the function of a stuffed Nemo fish? How many phone calls can you make on one of those old school Fisher Price phones with the googley eyes before it gets old?

Turns out, she could do these things over and over and over and over. Me, on the other hand… not so much. Not at all. After just a few repetitions, I am SO. OVER. playtime.

It's not just that that I find it mind-numbingly dull, which I do. But I cannot, for the life of me, see how alternating dropping the square peg into the square hole and the round peg into the round one forty-seven times in a row is actually teaching her anything. My brain knows she is learning, but I can't get myself to feel like she is, and so this overwhelming feeling of purposelessness hops on top of my boredom, and the combined weight is something I can stand for about five minutes before I want to run.

I thank God every day that Baby #2 is en route to relieve me of playtime duty.

I realize this is incredibly selfish, and I feel like I need to try to redeem myself by clarifying that I love talking to her and reading to her and spending time with her in general. I enjoy her company more than pretty much anyone else's. It isn't her I can't stand, it's the kiddie games. So maybe it's just that I'm more of a books person than a games person? That's how I was as a kid.

Still, is this terrible? Weird? Does anyone out there have any idea what I'm talking about??


  1. Yes! I hate playing, too! One woman at church offered a suggestion to help. She said she would set a timer for just 15 minutes a day and totally devote that time to playing with her kids. That was it. 15 minutes and she was back to what she needed to do that day. I don't always set a timer, but I do try to remember that it doesn't take a huge chunk of time to give them that attention/help they need, just a little bit where there's no phone/internet distracting me from them.

    GKC had some observation about a child's ability to repeat a behavior over and over. I don't know the quote, but the essence was that they're not only learning knowledge through the action, but also gaining comfort and security, knowing this thing will always behave thos way. We, as adults, get bored with this notion and need to constantly seek new entertainment. But, if we can slow ourselves down for a while, there is much to be gained from being so simply amused with life.

    Something like that. You're not alone. And yes, #2 was a huge relief for me with that, too, but it took at least a year before they could really play together. Now at 4 & 2, they're best buds.

    1. First, I am SO glad that you too hate to play!

      Second, that is a GREAT idea. If I set a fixed amount of time for something, it usually makes it much easier for me to get through it. Good call.

      Thanks for sharing that GKC insight. I love that dude. It definitely helps to think that this is actually bringing her COMFORT, not just teaching her something. Because apparently, I am more interested in making sure she is comfortable than making sure she is intelligent... Haha. But it's true!