Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Watching Them Play

Do all parents do that thing that as soon as the kids go to sleep is when the deep obsession starts?  We really enjoy them when they're awake, but it seems that as soon as they're asleep we miss them.  We talk about them.  We look at pictures of them.  We retell the same stories about them.  We call them little, sweet, soft, and rowdy.

Eventually, we can't take it anymore and we go in their rooms and kiss them.  Burl has always slept through the late night snuggles.  We will go in there and watch him sleep, kiss his face, and sometimes pick him up and hold him.  It's the best.  Fern's always been a different story.  I tried so many nights to go in there and hold her while she slept, but she was never comfortable. She would wiggle and never settle down in my arms like I hoped she would.  Every few weeks I would try it out one more time, John telling me not to, and every time it ended with me putting her half awake back in her crib.  Never pretty.

Well, big news: I tried it out one more time and little baby girl snuggled and slept right in my arms and it was The.Best.  The night usually looks like this: we sneak into Burl's room, turn off his light, cover him up, awe at him, give him kisses, then leave.  Then, we sneak into Fern's room and look at her.  I pick her up and sit in the chair with her.  John and I smile at each other, he kisses her fat cheek, then leaves the room with a whisper, "enjoy your time," he says.  Oh, I do!

Every night for the past few nights I've been telling John how much I enjoy the stage that they're in.  My days at home with them have become gradually different.  Something about playing with them has become better, and I haven't been able to figure it out.  I just keep telling John that it's my favorite!  It's so fun.

It wasn't until two days of outside play that I understood.  Outside play, I've missed you.  I haven't made you a priority and I regret it.  You are so good to us with your calm and your sunshine and your sweet ambiance, thank you.

As I bounced between playing with Fern and playing with Burl, I realized that this is my favorite stage because they're busy and fun and they don't need me to come up with things to play.  Their imaginations are working all on their own and they are busy little people.  Whether we're outside or in the house, they are playing.  All.the.time. (unless Curious George is on, Burl LOVES that monkey!)

They don't need me to come up with games or tasks or things to do.  Playing alongside them or giving them space, they just need me to be there.  Burl's little imagination is on overdrive and he is all toddler when it comes to his days.  He's always busy.  Fern is busy as well, but in a quieter way.  She'll often "sneak off" to his or her room to get into some specific toys.  She can be found pulling books down in his room, sitting with her dolls in her little chair in her room, looking at books, kissing the little people toys, or (when I lose track) splashing in the toilet bowl. Nasty.

When they're directing the playtime, it's so fun.  I either sit back and observe or participate in their games, but either way I love that I get to spend my days in this house with them.  

At the end of the night, a lot of the stories that I tell John are the same ones he knows: they're about how they play.  "Then, she opened the cabinet and pulled out the bowl, then grabbed the letters, then found a spoon..." or "So Burl started stacking the books then spreading them out then calling them firewood..."  And the stories trail off there.  

They don't need me to come up with games for them right now.  They need me for other things, and that's ok.  Right now, I'm loving this stage of watching what them create their own play.  It's fascinating, it's cute, and it's a privilege to be here with them.


  1. I'm also so fascinated by my boys imaginations. The things they build, the stories they create. I love to just sit and watch.

  2. Our girls are 10 & 13 and we still obsess about them when they are asleep or at a sleepover or playdate--anytime they are not with us, really. I am glad my little one still loves to snuggle.

    I love reading your blog and how much you enjoy your kids!