Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Organised vs free play

When I wrote the I cannot be a mom if... post, things were getting nuts.  Now things are crazy nuts. Jordan whines that I haven't gotten home in time to get her to bed in a while. Never mind that I'm with her in the mornings. Whatever it is, she complains that I'm not there. Muffin plaintively whines that I need to play with him and Evan keeps bugging me about helping him to somersauts on the bar at the exercise yard at the base of our block.

I bite my tongue and just try to be everywhere at once. Packrat assures me that they're fine even if I'm not there all the time. And I know it's true because I've seen it in their play. Left to their own devices, they fashion games.

One of my favourites, with a little help from me, is for them to play soldiers in a fort. Our helper has a fit when we do this because the fort is the foldable mattress that we lay every night on the floor by their bed just in case they fall off. Their weapons of choice, a basket of plastic balls that they excitedly launch out from behind the fortress walls at the 'enemy' aka Mommy or Papa. Little do they know that the 'enemy' bides their time and quietly stockpiles their own weapons (the pile of balls launched out)while waiting till they are out off ammunition. Only then do they retaliate, raining an entire basket of balls back into the fortress to loud squeals and screams. I was the enemy for a full hour before I had to leave for work and Packrat took over. When I left, they were so busy attacking Packrat, they hardly even noticed that I had left.

The other thing they do a lot of when I am not home is that they play outside. The twins recently learnt hopscotch and they spend a lot of time getting it right while Muffin blows bubbles till his cheeks hurt. But what they had a lot of fun with, that put a big fat grin on my face was when they found a big palm husk that doubled up like a sled and they proceeded to toboggan down a grassy slope near my parents. I did the exact same thing when I was their age.

There's very little planning that goes into these activities and because of that, it gives me at the very least 10-15 minutes to indulge them before I have to head out.

When I do have time, I try to make up for my absence by creating more unusual things for them to play with. This week, it was shaving foam and oats. Muffin hates weird textures. And because he does hate it, I find more reason for him to be exposed to it. So, we had basins of foam with toys or water beads hidden in it. Unfortunately, he only really got into it about 5 minutes before we needed to pack up. That being said, the twins had a wonderfully messy time spraying out shaving foam, colouring them, massaging through them treasure hunting.

I truly don't know what they like better. I suspect it's as long as I am hanging out with them, they're pretty okay either way. Although Evan did ask if he could play with more snow (shaving foam). Then again, he did also ask me to go with him to be his somersault spotter.

I can't wait for this crazy season to be a season past where I can be both again.

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