“Mummy can you please play family with me?”
Since the start of the year, I must have been asked this question by Sophie every evening when I pick her from school. Her idea of play family is where we have pretend play with her soft toys, Clover her stuffed bunny and AP, short form for Apple, because her Teddy likes apples.
Her make believe play is where we pretend to be mummy and daddy, doing the seemingly mundane things that I do on a daily basis. How fun is that when it includes cooking, changing diapers for her babies and getting them to take their naps? On more exciting days, Sophie declares that we we are going on a holiday and we’ll be packing our luggage and deciding which country to travel to.
I can’t figure why this is such a fun game for her. After all, she is turning six this year and I would have thought that she has outgrown such play with no agenda or purpose… at least to mummy here who has a thousand and one things on my mind to be done when we get home. So you can understand why her enthusiasm for playing family is usually met with a slight groan from me and I mutter under my breath, NOT AGAIN?!?!
On a few occasions, I actually tell Sophie off for not being able to play independently when I have so much chores to see to, only to have her respond in tears. And when I question why she’s so upset, she tells me in between sobs that all children like to play and she really likes mummy to play with her.
You may truly love your child, but unless she feels it- she will not feel loved.
I can sense that Sophie’s cry for us to play with her is really her way of saying,
I want to spend time with you mummy
I want to do things with you daddy
I want you to be beside me
So while I may have my own agenda of what bonding with my daughter means, taking her to the playground, playing lego, doing art and craft, her request is simply to take time after work and school each day and play. And how can I forget that spending quality time is her love language?
We may not always have these moments
And I’m reminded that we may not always have these moments
when our child still wants to play with us
when our child asks for another bedtime story
when they hug us with all their might and to show they really really really love us
when they amuse us with the silliest things they say and and oh how they infect us with their contagious laughter till our belly aches
when they reach over to scratch our arms to soothe themselves before they go to bed
when they accompany us to the changing room and tickle us with all their funny antics
when they (still) agree to wear matchy matchy outfits with us before it comes uncool
when their little hands reach for ours looking for security in the middle of the night
when they plant a kiss on our cheeks and whisper, I love you mummy, for no reason at all and melt us over and over again
The next time your child ask you to put down what you’re busy with and play with them, don’t turn them down.
The kids don’t care for the big moments in life for them to be meaningful and special memories. In fact, they teach us that it’s the everyday little moments that truly matters to them.