Thursday, February 19, 2009

No Imagination

Day 50.

I talked to my mom on the phone today and asked her a question that's been on my mind a lot. How much did she play with me when I was little - and did she ever feel like it wasn't enough? I don't know what answer I was looking for - maybe partly I wanted to hear that she didn't play with me much, and I obviously am no worse for wear.

I just don't ever feel like I play with my kids enough. There is so much to do, to clean, to cook, to work on. Mix in fun outings, enjoyable classes for the kids, and obligatory errands and I just don't find much left! So when Dylan comes to me for the fifth time that hour and asks, "Mommy, will you play with me?" I feel horrendous guilt. So, today

I am grateful for my children being very self-directed.

It's not that I don't want to play with them. I LOVE being with my kids. I would do countless art projects with them, read them unlimited books, or do puzzle after puzzle for hours. But it's the pretend play that makes me crazy. I want to be good at it, I really really do. And I feel like I'm a creative person in general. But when I play Book Party, or Pony Treasure Hunt, or Mommy and Dear (yes, that is the favorite that I've mentioned several times), I just lose all my imagination - or was it ever there to begin with? And on top of that, I sit there and think of all the other things I should be doing instead of THAT. Isn't that horrible? I really do want to enjoy it - but I just don't. I enjoy hearing Dylan's stories, watching her act them out, and would gladly be the audience to this play at any moment. But when I have to be the leader (which is always what happens when we pretend play), I shut down.

So, today when I had a lot of work to do to prepare to teach my new class tonight, they were wonderful. I did get a few "Mommy play with me!" voices ringing through the house, but for the most part, we did it, and I didn't feel too guilty.

My mom did tell me that she felt the same guilt - like it was never enough - and that was comforting. But she also said I didn't pretend play much (HELLO! - maybe that's why I'm not good at it 25 years later!!) - I did more activity-based play. I read books, built with blocks, did art projects, did puzzles, etc. Wow, all the things I still love to do! Well at least that makes sense.

Any ideas for how to stimulate my imagination so I can become a better pretend player?

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