I Wonder if Peabody Will Love Playing with Lincoln Logs. A Girl Can Hope, Right?

By Megan

As I read Cassie’s post, Worst Mother Alive over the weekend, I was touched with empathy, as many of you were, obviously, judging from the comments you left for her. We’ve all been there, haven’t we? Let’s face it, as much as we love our children and as fortunate as we are to have been blessed with them and as thankful as we are for the time we have to spend with them, there are moments, sometimes even days, of, well … boredom. For us, and for them. And on top of the boredom, we struggle with this ongoing internal conflict (GUILT!) over how much time to spend doing what THEY want to do (ALL THE TIME! CONSTANTLY! WITHOUT CEASING!) and what WE want to do (PLEASE? JUST FOR A MINUTE? SO MY BRAIN DOESN’T COMPLETELY CONGEAL?).

Now I don’t doubt for a minute that it’s 100% healthy for me to put my children’s best interest ahead of my own wants and desires and unselfishly sit down and play that game of Candyland with Bean or bounce Peabody up and down, up and down on my lap until he’s breathless with laughter. And I also know that the kids (well, just Bean, for now, but both of them eventually) will benefit in many ways by doing the things I enjoy, like going for a walk or working in the yard or organizing and decluttering. I think it’s essential for kids to learn early that life and love require compromise, and compromise can be a joyful thing when it’s done with the right attitude.

But sometimes, as T with Honey pointed out in her comment on Cassie’s post, there’s also this bright, hopeful spot outside of all the compromise when it comes to spending time with small children, and that’s in finding activities that you BOTH can enjoy equally. Here’s what T said:

“…you need to discover what common interests you have with Aiden. That is one of the things I’m constantly exploring with Princess. […] we both like playing Go Fish, Memory or your dreaded Candy Land. We play one of these after dinner almost every evening. See? Everyone has different interests, things they can tolerate more than others. And while on holiday vacation I discovered even more common interests: styling her ponies hair, hide and go seek (if I hide in the right spot I can sneak in a cat nap) and training our dogs together.”

It’s not that I never enjoy doing things with Bean. Actually she’s a wonderful companion. And without my even registering it, we’ve done a little bit of what T describes above and found activities we both look forward to doing together.

Bean and I both really love music and singing and dancing and just sortof lettin’ loose a little, so on many mornings when we’ve finished the whole snuggle, eat breakfast, watch a few kid shows and get dressed routine and we’re staring that late morning chunk of “What next?” in the face, we crank up the tunes and go crazy pretending we’re rock stars. She plays a mean air guitar, and although I can’t carry a tune in a bucket, I know every single word to virtually thousands of songs (most of them are family friendly), so I generally take the role of the lead singer. Peabody gets in on the action, too. He’s the drummer. AND WE HAVE A BALL! The time, which we all know can drag by very slowly some days, just FLIES by when we’re rockin’ out together.

We also both love to read. When we read together, we choose books we both love, and I show her pictures and words and ask her questions and tell her jokes and we laugh together. And it’s the same with cooking and baking – our time in the kitchen gives us plenty of great opportunities for learning and laughing as well.

And in these moments,  it’s not just me entertaining my child. It’s my pal Bean and me hanging out, having fun. We’re alike in many ways (we’re related, you know), so finding common ground with her should be easy, if I keep my eyes open to what she loves and relate it to what I love. So I’m going to be doing more of that in the weeks ahead, and I bet these long winter days of isolation will fly by much faster from the effort.

In fact, I’m going to end this post now and go do another thing I just remembered that Bean and I love doing together, playing “spa.” Two words people:  FOOT RUB!

What are some of the things you’ve found that both you and your children really love to do together?

Megan also blogs at FriedOkra.

11 Responses to I Wonder if Peabody Will Love Playing with Lincoln Logs. A Girl Can Hope, Right?
  1. Courtney
    January 12, 2009 | 11:42 am

    Lets see…i am such a tomboy that i get along great with my boys as far as play goes. I love to sit down with them and play cars or sometimes we will sit outside (weather permitting)and swing on the porch swing while we pretend we are astronauts or on a jungle adventure (thanks Diego). The boys both also love to cook so we spend a lot of time in the evenings cooking and baking. It is fun to teach them and let them teach me.

  2. CanCan (Mom Most Traveled)
    January 12, 2009 | 12:36 pm

    Playing spa! I will have to teach Jojo that game!

    Actually my 17 month old spent several fascinating minutes putting lotion on my shin today. Fun times!

  3. Jenny 867-5309
    January 12, 2009 | 12:47 pm

    Mmmmm…playing spa. I see what I’m missing by having all boys! Friday night it was warm so J and I went out and played hide-n-seek with our kiddos. Within 10 minutes we were surrounded by 12 other 5-8yo’s from the neighborhood. We got our butt kicked, but IT WAS FUN!!!

  4. AmyG
    January 12, 2009 | 12:47 pm

    For Christmas, I got my girls some games that I loved playing as a kid, Trouble & Connect 4 and now both of my girls love them, so we play them several times a week.

    We color together and sometimes will do other crafts I pull out.

    My oldest wants to cook with me, so bad, but one, our kitchen is so small, there isn’t a lot of room. And two, her sister always wants to help, as well. And there just isn’t room, nor do I want to deal with the fighting. *sigh* One day I’ll have a bigger kitchen, lol.

    Oh… in my quest to lose weight, I’ve also discovered that my oldest loves to work out with me.

    My youngest is content to play on her own. A lot of times she likes to cuddle, so we watch her favorite shows & cuddle, while her sister is at school.

  5. T with Honey
    January 12, 2009 | 5:58 pm

    Only the great Megan Fried Okra could take my humble comment and turn it into this great post.

    I think the next step in my plan is to keep our list of these standby, loved-by-all activities and post it on the fridge or something. It’s not always easy to remember them when I’m about to pull my hair out after changing her baby dolls’ clothing for the fifty billionth time.

  6. Cassie
    January 12, 2009 | 7:52 pm

    I just want to thank everyone for all of their wonderful comments and support referring to my post. It is refreshing to see that I am not the only one overwhelmed with motherhood and the need to balance WHAT I WANT and what AIDEN WANTS. I think this site has made it possible for mothers to voice thoughts that used to be shameful to us. Thank You! I am going to have to rock out with Aiden tomorrow!

  7. Kelly
    January 13, 2009 | 12:29 am

    This is so true, Megan. When we can find something to do with our child that we BOTH enjoy, it’s true magic. Suddenly, we love being parents again.

    Fabulous post. (And yes, I predict Peabody will adore Lincoln Logs. You heard it here first.)

  8. Candace
    January 13, 2009 | 1:28 pm

    My son and I love to read together. I point out pictures and he does not realize it but he is learning when I point the shapes or colors. We also like to play hide and seek in the house since it is to cold to go outside. Being a college student sometimes when I have to do homework I will sit him down at he dining room table across from and he colors, plays with toys, and reads while I study. He loves it because he thinks he is helping me. He really is though and that way we get to spend more time together.

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