Friday, September 09, 2011

Play: how to play

I've been a mother for 2 years now and looking back, there are things i like more than others.

For example, things I don't like:

1. Feeling like I've been in shock for a year straight. I typically don't consider myself a nervous person so my poor nerves were completely shot at that year mark.  Fortunately that feeling slowly waned and I feel it significantly less now.

2. Being a psychotic psycho about so many friggin' things.  Having a kid really brings out the Crazy in you. At first I really loathe this, and it's a complete drawback to having a kid.  On the other hand, it is a challenge, and I do want to improve myself, so it's also a pretty decent way to shake things up if things have gotten too predictable and humdrum, or if you just feel too sane.

3. Having a Britney Spears song take meaning to my life.  Being a Slave 4 U (Julian).  Ok, i'm sorry. So lame.  And as a sidenote, I looked up the lyrics just to see, and I think my new favorite thing is going to be looking up lyrics to crappy pop songs.  It's like having James Earl Jones recite lyrics to Justin Bieber's "Baby."   Just so awesome.  For example, here's the chorus to Slave:

Get it get it, get it get it (WHOOOA)
Get it get it, get it get it (WHOOOOOA)
Get it get it, get it get it (OOOHHHH) [<--hahahaa]
[Panting]      [<--HA]

I’m a slave for you. (Here we go now)
I cannot hold it; I cannot control it.
I’m a slave for you. (Here we go) I won’t deny it, (Yeah)   [yeah]
I’m not trying to hide it.

Hahaha.. the [panting]. :D  GENIUS, Britney.  Anyway, obviously the meaning of this song is a wee bit different than what I'm referring to.  But it's just the shock of being suddenly tied to someone 24 hours a day, day after day after day after day.  I've never felt so trapped, so claustrophobic, so suffocated in all of my LIFE. [panting]

Maaan...I remember in the earlier days, having brunch with a friend.  Afterward when we were paying, we realized it was cash only and we needed to run to an ATM across the street.  I jumped at this chance-- "No, NO.  Let me!!!"   Before you could say "child abandonment" I had  left the stroller with her and gleefully leaped ran across the street. It was about 37 feet of the sweetest freedom whose taste I had completely forgotten.  It's like when Frodo & Sam are climbing Mt. Doom and Frodo can't go on. Desperate, Sam tries to encourage Frodo by reminding him of happier times. "It'll be summertime in the shire and people will be having the first crop of strawberries with cream. Do you remember the taste of strawberries, Mr. Frodo?"   And Frodo, withered and empty wheezes,  "No, Sam. I can't recall the taste of food."

Running across the street to the ATM felt so stupidly good, and suddenly I knew exactly what Andy Dufresne felt like after he scratched a tunnel in the wall for 20 years and crawled through 3 football fields of sewage until he dumped out into a pond and his freedom.

In addition, I remember attending some gathering in a wide open space where I left Julian with someone else and went across the way to talk to someone. I can distinctly recall turning and looking at Julian's face and having it be a bit of a shock, and somewhat foreign to me because i NEVER saw him from a distance.  It was always 3 feet away, 5 feet away, 2 inches away.  And it looked strange. And very cute. But it was weird and unnerving, and I remember sort of laughing and thinking, what the hey?? What is happening to me??  So, that's always fun.

So it's things like that.  So yeah, there are things I don't enjoy.  But there are things I DO enjoy, and one of them is this:

Teaching a small lad how to play.   Suddenly I am an expert.  Suddenly I find myself in situations where it's completely appropriate to do things I want to do because I now have a small one with me!  It's so perfect!  While often I use Julian as my prop, I mostly really do like to do things with him.

For example, we went out in the rain today and I just take immense pleasure in pointing out puddles for him and that they are to be jumped in. Except for the mucky ones, and that's an important discernment to learn if he's going to make it in this town, another fun lesson to teach. 

Other things I like to do:

Teach him how to blow fluff off one's hand.  I love that one of our games is him bringing me fluff to blow off.  I told this to Sean and he said, "Aw maaan.. you know you live in squalor when you start playing with the filth."  I said, "quiet, YOU" and then blew fluff in his face. He feigns repulsion, but I think Sean's amused by the fact that he knows I would genuinely enjoy this, kid or no kid.

I love riding the bus just to ride the bus.  Back in the day, I always dreamed of doing this and riding the subway just because, but i never did it because i guess i just felt like i needed a reason, a destination. Not once did i consider that it could have been Destination: Fun.

I love sitting on benches and counting the taxis, or calling them out when they pass.   I'm telling you, this is something i'd have done before, and probably did, but only mentally. Now i can shout it out with abandon!  Because an appropriately aged small one sits next to me.  Plus, he gives me some competition. (some)

I love showing Julian all my favorite books from my youth. This is a truly special thing, i think.  I have a friend who mentioned that she was finally reading Harry Potter to her 7(?)-year-old, that she had waited a long, long time for this.  Magical. 

It's things like that where I'm like, yeah! yeah!  This is aaaalright.


Alanna said...

A hearty "Aaaaa-men!"

I realized once when I managed to go to the store all by myself that, much as I enjoyed being alone for a chance, I'd gotten used to narrating what I was doing to my kids, and now, by myself, I looked pretty crazy doing this. So I had to shut up and just be quiet, and MAN, that got boring fast!

And yes, I have to point out fire trucks and buses and things, whether the kids are with me or not. I just HAVE to, now!

Natalie R. said...

That was a truly awesome post. I know what you mean about having someone there with you all the time. Honestly, I think having a mission companion helped me out a lot with getting ready for kids. But it's always amazing how much I miss them when they're not there, even though it's awfully nice once in a while. :0)

Valerie said...

Were you surprised that your friend had a 7 year old, or because she was reading Harry Potter TO a 7 year old? If it's the latter, we should talk.

)en said...

I just wasn't sure of the age. I think he's a precocious child. What IS the appropriate age to start reading HP? 8? 5? 2 and 1 month? in the womb?

Amber Alvarez said...

I just received a memo from my womb asking I no longer read your blog. Baby fever lives here.