Sometimes I get so used to what my children do and how they do it, that I often forget to recognize the awesomeness or hilarity in it. They both are such silly boys, so full of spunk and energy, creativity and determination. Pretend play is huge at this age of almost (gulp) 4 and I’m often called into his make-believe world and activities. Some days this is tiresome…I admit it. (Do I have to be the fire chief again??? Didn’t we just play Mama mouse/baby mouse? I’ve got 3 loads of laundry to fold and the sink is full of dirty dishes, but OK little man…you win. But can I be the baby mouse this time?)
When Calvin is taking his nap, Levi gets to have his “Mama time”, as he calls it. I usually try to head to the studio with him, but it depends on his mood. He’s getting a lot better about playing next to me while I am working…we talk and listen to music, have snacks. I enjoy this time alone with him very much. It allows me to really notice how he plays and where his mind takes him. He loves to play with water and often has a completely elaborate pouring station set up with old paint jars, buckets, tubes and funnels. Yesterday, he had the jars all nicely lined up on the floor next to a towel. Out of the corner of my eye, I see him very carefully walking from the sink to his spot, several times in a row. When I asked him what he was doing, he said, “getting ready to have a pizza party with you, Mommy.” Oh, really?
Each vessel of water was a pizza ingredient…sauce, cheese, mushrooms, raisins, coconut. (I think he was getting my muffin recipes mixed up with pizza, but I didn’t say anything.) He made me pizza after pizza, each one better than the last. I sat there on the floor with him, letting go of the project I was working on and the mental list of chores to be done and ate imaginary pizza with him. After our meal, he was off onto the next activity…pretending to be a mail carrier. He grabbed some papers out of the recycling bin and put them in his bike helmet and called himself, “Levi Caesar”. (Our mailman’s name is Caesar and he is super friendly with Levi.)
A bike helmet, some trash, water and a few buckets…who needs “toys” when you’ve got an imagination? He does have some toys, don’t get me wrong, but what I’m trying to savor here is how vibrant play can sometimes be without them; to remind myself to soak it all in, participate and enjoy it because I know there will come a day when he will not want me to be his playmate any more. For now, I’ll stick with being the pizza-eating fire chief…or Mama mouse.