I’ll be honest (it’s quite stress-relieving); when the pregnancy results came in for my second child I immediately yearned for the day my two kids could play together.
Only two years apart—by literally two days—I felt sure my kids would be destined to grow up playing with and perhaps tormenting each other.
As my son took his time learning to toddle around the house, I started stockpiling the most fun toys I could think of. My husband and I enlisted Santa’s help for three consecutive years. We built a haven of games and toys, including a full-size fun tent and indoor baseball tee.
All these wonderful playthings are kept in the closet, and when my kids are good (i.e. mommy and daddy have to work from home) we “open the closet” and let them have their fun!
Well, yesterday my 14-month-old sat in front of the closet door as it opened and looked excitedly at me. “Ba!” he said in his happiest voice. “Go ahead, play!” I announced as he looked into the stuffed closet at the myriad of things. “Ba,” he spoke again as his face questioned where mommy was going.
I was trying to get writing done. Bah.
All of a sudden (except not really) I knew the one thing all toddlers want to play with. The single thing that will entertain them for hours upon glorious hours: their parents.
My husband and I pretty well cut the weekday in half. Monday through Friday I leave the house between 6:30 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. and either go to school or an internship. Because I have no office to speak of at home, I find an empty table or crawl under a rock at Kennesaw State University to get work done on my MacBook Pro—my mobile office. By 2 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. I return home as my husband flees for his teaching job.
My son’s favorite game is grab mommy’s glasses
Sadly, it’s true. I feel a bit like a beaten housewife when I see the absolute joy that squeals forth from my son’s mouth when he goes for my face. The octaves he hits leave the cat clawing for cover. Of all the hand-eye coordination games and stacks of rings, screaming and grabbing the glasses off my face is his most treasured activity.
My daughter plays the part of a puppy
Not only does she enjoy acting like a dog but also pawing at mommy. The psychology is so apparent it’s pathetic. She simply wants attention. I try to be the perfect mom, but the fact is we parents are pushed to the limits in trying to be home with our kids. It isn’t enough to be home. They want constant attention.
As my panting 3-year-old rubs her tummy and licks my arm, I smile. Sometimes, I get so frustrated I snap, but more often I smile. She’s been known to paw at me and actually speak the words, “I want attention.” Heartbreaking. Guilt-ridden, I do the best I can (as does my husband on his shifts).
My toddlers’ absolute favorite game is Peek-A-Boo
If only they enjoyed puzzles or blocks. If only they could sit quietly and read a book. But no. At 14 months and 3, toddlers want to play with their parents. They want to hide under the blanket and “disappear” until the blanket lowers and “there you are!” I’m convinced this doesn’t really change even as they get older and more independent.
If only we work-from-home parents could invest in a stuffed animal that teaches them to crawl, walk, talk and prepare dinner, we’d max out every credit card to keep them well-informed and, most importantly, entertained.
I’m quite sure that every parent reading this understands that no matter how much money we have for toys or activities the one thing—the only thing—our kids really need and really even want is our attention. We are their favorite toys. Let’s try to remember that when the next Tickle-Me Elmo quivers on television. You can spend as much money as you want, but your kids will want you to play with it with them.
Nap time’s over now. Back to work.