Sunday, March 4, 2012

Bad mummy confession

I have a confession to make.

I don't enjoy playing with my children.

There, I've said it typed it.

I don't mean that I totally hate it all. I mean, give me a game of Uno, Guess Who, Memory, a ditzy My Lil Pony board game and I am there, for as long as they need or want me. I will happily puzzle assist from dawn,  kick the ball outside, ride bikes and push scooters til dusk. I will read and read and read  books til the cows come home.

Just don't ask me to take part in their free play, imaginary play, take-a-doll-and-make-it say-and-do-stuff play.


Because, well quite frankly it is boring.

Disclaimer: I LOVE to watch them do it, love to sneak up and eavesdrop on this type of play because it is magic. Together they are great (even of Big Miss is a weeee bit bossy, so taking after her mother there) but individually, especially Little Miss right now, it is amazing to observe. She is creative, articulate, detailed and, well, long winded. I am constantly in awe of the scenarios that she comes up with, the complicated relationships and story lines, often incorporating recent IRL events. They way she uses her toys and combines many genre of toy to wind her story together, it is fantastic and great to observe.

What is not great is participating.


Because it goes something like this....

HER: You take this princess and I'll be this princess. You go over there and I'll be in here in the castle. Then you knock on the door when I say.

ME: okay, knocks on door at directed moment

HER: now just pretend you said 'what are you doing?'

ME (not pretending but actually saying it) "what are you doing over there princess?"

HER: Nooo! Just say 'what are you doing?'

ME (sighs) okay, what are you doing?

HER: I'm getting ready to go out! (in her best princess voice)

ME: Oooh, are you going to a party?

HER: Noooo, you don't say that, you just pretend you say 'can I come with you?'

ME (not pretending but actually saying it) can I please come with you, where are you going?

HER: Nooo, you can't ask me that, it's a surprise! Now you bring her over here..... and then you pretend you say.....


I am not allowed to inject one iota of original content, do any improv or suggest an deviations from the pre ordained script that resides in her head. I follow and do monotone impressions of the one liners I am fed and dutifully obey the rules of play which are basically  DO WHAT I SAY AND SAY WHAT I TELL YOU! And of course I sit there the whole time thinking about all the things I could, should and would rather be doing. Folding washing, doing dishes, blogging, making dinner, drinking a cup of tea, eating a choccie biscuit, cleaning my toenails. Anything else, really.

See? Boring? I am guilty of sometimes saying "In a minute darling" when she asks "mum, will you play with me?" in the hopes she will go off on her own tangent and forgets she ever thought she needed me to have any fun, as clearly, after all, I am a dead weight in this operation!

Is it just a girl thing, this OCD type of play? Because twice around the princess castle now, I am hoping the boy play is less restrictive, even if this means constantly knocking over block towers, I am up for that!

What do your kids involve you in that you'd rather avoid? C'mon, fess up!


Skipper said...

You aren't the only one. I hate it too. I'm thankful that my kids rarely ask me to play with them, because they love playing with each other or on their own. They tend to ask me to read stories, watch them play outside, do some baking, help with craft work.. But that's as far as I go. I loved playing with them as babies when they needed me for entertainment and development, but I am a big believer in raising independent kids, who don't NEED me to play imaginative games with them. And they rarely ask me. They can go on with their "Pretend that you are the dad, and that you have to go to work, and your office is over there. And pretend I'm the teenage daughter, and I'm 16...." *eye roll* I swear there is more discussion about the game than actual game playing going on!!!

alliecat said...

Oh yes, there is definitely much discussion about who is what!

Occasionally I get, “pretend you are the mummy and I am the kid”....Ummm OKAY!

Or my (un)favourite, “pretend you are the grandma...” umm, thanks but no thanks, not yet at least!! I am lucky that she does play well on her own too. Gee, give me some play dough over that any time, and for me that is saying soemthing!

Kakka said...

My littlest grand-daughter is so into imaginative play and every time I am there or she is here, that is what we do. Grandma you can be Rupunzel and I will be Mother Gothel and you have to do this. No Grandma not like that and so on. But given it is not often I love to indulge her. It would wear me out if it was all day every day.