Sunday, November 16, 2008

On Vegetables in the Bathtub and Eavesdropping

I am now pretty confident that the best insight as to how you are doing as a parent is paying attention to how your children play.

Santa Claus brought a dollhouse to our two year old daughter last Christmas. She was way too young, of course, but I had explained to Mr. Claus that these items seemed to be getting more and more expensive. It kind of seemed like now or never at the time, and Santa presented a pretty great package deal. We recruited her grandparents and aunts to help with the add-ons, which by the way, are never ending. I figured at the very least it would be something she would enjoy because of all the bright colors and movable pieces. The dollhouse stayed in the great room of our house for about a month, and then all those movable pieces started to get under my skin. They were traveling everywhere. The dollhouse then traveled up to the attic playroom and this helped to contain all the little pieces. I am not the parent who can just plop all the pieces into a box and leave it there for next time- I am the kind of parent who puts each little part back in its place. Anyone who has Playmobil sets around the house will know what I speak of. It is maddening. I humbly salute and envy "box parents". Like all children, if you are paying attention, my daughter's play was becoming more and more complex. She was talking to her dolls and making them talk to each other. Grammy and Grandpa in Florida slipped into the roles of the doll grandparents, and she was identifying herself as the little blond haired girl doll. This is when I brought the dollhouse back downstairs and into my bedroom. We co sleep, even though my daughter has her own room, and the baby is in my room too. So we spend a lot of time there in the mornings and before bed, two perfect times for play. A lot of times I am right down on the floor with her, but at others I like to give her some time to develop her own sense of how she would like to play. This is where the shameless eavesdropping began. I have noticed that she assumes the mommy role when I am not in the bubble of play with her. It is interesting and downright funny to hear how she deals with situations that she dreams up with the dolls. She reenacts events from the last few days and seems to especially enjoy being mommy to her baby brother who always is the infant in the doll set. I think at this point she just can't imagine him ever being the big boy in the dolls. The dolls were making dinner the other night and there was a problem. The garden vegetables needed washing and the kitchen sink does not have a basin. So she put them all in the bathtub. Very smart, I thought to myself. Then she did something interesting...she removed the dining table and just placed the tub in the middle of the four chairs so everyone could eat straight from the tub. Dolls lead an interesting life. It makes me realize that children desperately need a place where there are no rules. If you want to eat dinner out of the tub, so be it. It has also made me realize that I do enough cleaning as it is in our real house, so I have vowed to let the dollhouse just be messy. I may even get a box for all the small parts littering my bedroom floor. It's an important start, because Santa is working on a Playmobil farm for next Christmas.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

this story just made me giggle and giggle. i'm replacing our dinning table stat.

btw...we r getting M a dollhouse this year. can't wait!