Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Who Wants to Play?

One of the great things about working from home is that I’m able to avoid “Camp Chaos” - the endless juggling & scheduling required to fill up the 44 weekdays (but who’s counting??) between “School’s Out!” to that first glorious September school bell. Between figuring out the logistics of getting them to & from the camp, raiding piggy banks & couch cushions to ensure you can actually pay for these camps, and (hopefully) finding camps that are even remotely of interest to the little day campers (preferable, but not required!), it can seriously be a full-time job!

So I should be kicking back with a celebratory drink toasting the fact that I don’t have to deal with all of that, right? Not exactly… What is my little guy most looking forward to this Summer? “Playing.”

Here’s where I lose my “Mom of the Year” nomination (Hey, I could have had one…!) – I have to confess something… I don’t like to play. I can read with him, tackle an art project together, brave the baking/cooking process with my sous chef at my side, collect rocks on nature hikes, and plan day trips with the best of them. Heck, I can even endure the occasional board game. But ask me to just generally “play” and the glowing “Super Mommy” halo starts to slip.

I’ve watched him do it – he can run around in circles in the backyard making space laser noises and inventing stories and conversations for what seems like hours at a time. He can go forever telling me what to say & what to do in order to be part of the current scenario. And don’t get me wrong – I do it… I just don’t get it! I know that not everything requires a purpose – but admittedly, I just function much more effectively when there is one.

I know, I need to just relax and enjoy the fact that he wants to hang out with me at all – and trust me, I love spending time with him – I just need to get better at this “play” thing. I guess I’ve got 44 days to get it down pat (but who’s counting??).

Friday, 3 June 2011

Man Up!

Don’t let the tough-guy, taekwondo-kicking, always-on-the-move thing fool you – my kid is as sensitive as they come. Talk about wearing his heart on his sleeve – he’s practically got it tattooed right on the middle of his forehead! I’m pretty sure “The Fox and the Hound” scarred him for life,  and I have yet to find a Disney movie that doesn’t have at least one scene where I assume my position as “World’s Meanest Mommy” for “making” him endure such an appalling experience.

When he gets frustrated, the tears come. If one of his buddies has something less-than-positive to say about his choice of game/snack/superhero/etc., the lip starts a-quivering. If he thinks I’m upset about something – poof! My sad little shadow is glued to my side.

So here’s my dilemma … we talk about encouraging kids to be “real”, express their emotions, be themselves, and all that other good stuff. Heck, isn’t Sensitivity usually on the list of “must haves” for the ol’ Perfect Mate Checklist?

Sounds great – my kid is sharing and I’m raising the next "Perfect 10". Perfect.

Not perfect. For as much as everyone sings the Sensitivity Song, there is also an equally strong assumption out there that no one likes a Weeping Willie. Society likes its men strong, in control, with just a hint of softness that only makes an appearance during the fleeting, yet appropriate situations.

So “How much is too much”? I shudder at the “Boys don’t cry” battle cry and, quite frankly, I love the extra hugs & cuddles when he’s upset and only Mommy can fix it.  I don’t want to downplay what he’s feeling, but not keeping it in check at some point sets him up for a whole world of hurt.

Let him cry? Don’t cry at all? Cry for a minute & a half, then man up? This parenting thing is a lot of work! I think for now, I’ll just go with the flow, enjoy the hugs… and ditch the Disney movies!
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