Friday, February 24, 2012

Activities with kids

In a recent post asking readers what they'd like to read about, Tiff said one thing she was curious about was what I did with the kids.

So this is it:

Not a lot.
This is a good example.

While I may have several things pinned on boards with I'm-an-active-parent-type names like: rainy-day-to-do (which has turned into a "kids activities/homeschool" board and summer to-do ... but in reality I spend oh-so-much-time doing everything I can to make playing-by-themselves happen. I felt guilty about this (and the infamaous Mommy Guilt still tries to take up residence from time to time). I loved babysitting other people's children. I couldn't wait to be a mom!
And now the children are here (and yes, there is a desire for even more!) and yet I don't have fun reading the same book over and over or playing house or working on the same puzzle over and over. I just don't. In fact, I find it frustrating because I have a to-do list whirling around in my head (house projects, creating, farming, photographing, meal planning ... you know, important stuff that I'll be really look back fondly on after the kids are grown).

Then I read a book (I can't tell you which one, maybe Our Babies, Ourselves? where the author studies various childrearing practices in indigenous peoples. One observations is that children are with their parents (namely their mother) until their mothers are pregnant again (usually when the child is somewhere between the ages of 2 and 4). At this point the child joins a gaggle of cousins who then raise the child. Children's work is becoming better children (not better adults, as I think we sometimes assume).
This reading made me realize that when I was babysitting I was a "cousin". As a mother, it makes sense that I may be less inclined to play with my children all day and that there is value in their supposed boredom.
So, while I have several ideas of fun activities I want to do with the kids, they aren't always as enthusiastic about my ideas as they have plenty of ideas of their own. And I have to work at being okay with this.


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