Monday, July 9, 2007

Child's Play

The joy of the Summer Season is being able to play. Remember running through the sprinkler as a child - how cool it was to get soaked less than 20 feet from your own house. Well, you may think of water, playscapes, sand castles and the park during Summer - don't forget make believe play as part of your necessary skills. Today, I would have been more prepared for a water gun fight or carnival ride than the land of "let's pretend."

The banker, the barber, and the daddy stand before you. I know looks can be deceiving - but I'm telling the truth. Honest.

Some time ago when princess was starting pre-kindergarten I confided in my aunt, who happens to be a principal, that my daughter would only talk about lunch and recess when I asked about school. I had never had her at any day care or program - so I was overly anxious about her new experience. My aunt said, "play school - she'll tell you everything." Two weeks later I knew the order of the day, the teacher that cooked breakfast, who finished their paper first, habits that my daughter observed from the adults around her - and it all came about with a few American Girl dolls, pretend play and my role as the student - not the mommy.

Based on this experience, I should have been better prepared than I was when my world came to life in living color right before my eyes. My children begged me to play blocks and legos - and after requesting immunizations, sending emails, cleaning and doing laundry, updating my calendar - all those mommy things - I joined the pretend land.

I suggested, "let's build a hotel." Within minutes my children had constructed a life that was pretty amazing, and thought provoking to say the least. I got to see a miniature version of a world that I would like to adjust in the eyes of my children, although I see that they have taken in some life details never intended for their consumption.

1. Everybody wanted to own a business. I appreciated this and should have expected as much given our entrepreneurial efforts. However, much of our pretend world involved the cost of life - I heard a chorus of "how much does a hair cut cost, what does it cost for a family to go to the movies, what should I charge for a car repair..." and somehow I wasn't in Kansas. I wanted to enjoy my world, but in my "escape" society, money was a present reality all of the time. Good home training maybe, but it sounded like every heightened comment about the cost of life was connected the reality of our somewhat stressful relocation. Ouch.

2. Every time daddy came home from work he was apologetic for "being late again." I said (to my 5 year old son), "hunnie it is okay..." and he replied, " I really should have called you, I know that I shouldn't have worked late." When I told him it was all good - he insisted on a list of why he was late, including "my gas tank was O and I was almost out of gas." (This ouch was from repeated experiences of driving somewhere when a chorus starts - the gas tank says no miles left.) I so don't want to teach this to my kidlets, but with gas over $3, we have often fussed, complained and talked about the close situations when we drove home on fumes. Prior to this season in life, this was not the norm, but lately - the reality was played out by a 5 year old.

3. My youngest son took us on several errands - and went to church, too. I could quickly tell his life view was through the places we went - with extreme joy at our weekly movie theater escape. Even with the pressure of the other people in his world he was the most positive and good natured - and frankly, the most resilient. Whenever someone introduced trauma to his world - he spoke very clearly about let's go play together...and picked up his entire make believe family and went somewhere fun. (The movies, the water park, the hotel, and church!!!!!)

4. The 7 year old banker irritated me most. "We need to talk to you at the bank" she insisted. I first was very polite and happy to go make deposits until she suggested, "we'd like to talk to you about your move - you've had more expenses than normal." I told princess, "we work hard and its all handled - in fact, let's go to church and celebrate our blessings." She replied, "that's fine - but we need to deal with all of these things at the bank." No matter what I tried - she insisted we had to work out some time to talk over these obligations. I'd be wrong if I cussed here, so I'll say - ouch, again. I can only imagine my 5,687 conversations with my husband had filtered to a mean banker who just wanted to talk about this one more time. I made a cup of coffee at this point in the game - real world coffee.

5. The carefree world I imagined was not so care free. I was hit with questions of fees, obligations, fair business exchange and bartering. When all was said and done I was downright tired. I won't talk about their specialized skills and talents - I figure they have just heard way too much adult talk as of late, and it is showing up in the land of make believe. I have taken it as a cautionary tale of what happens when adult stress and anxiety spills into everyday life.

I looked out into the backyard and the suits have all gone to play. It was a welcome relief. I don't know what they are saying out there but I have a renewed sense of conviction that you have to be careful that real life doesn't become child's play too soon.


Pinks & Blues Girls said...


Fantastic post... how amazing kids are, huh?

The banker comments from your 7 year old... unreal. It's just amazing how much they are like sponges.

Just love your blog!!

- Audrey
Pinks & Blues Girls

Aaron & Alaine said...

So glad you stopped by. I was on a bit of a hiatus, as I was working on having the butcher, banker and candlestick maker experience some down time - including my decreased computer time. I'm not sure that my child's play would be any different today - but you can't beat a girl for trying!

Thanks so much for coming by and visiting. I'm back.....