I don’t like playing with my daughter. There I said it. It’s terrible. It’s awful. But it’s true.
When I hear those 6 little words, “Mommy, will you play with me?” come out of my sweet little girl’s mouth, I cringe.
I will do puzzles with my daughter all day long. I will play round after round of Memory and Cootie. I will read her stories til my throat goes dry. I will draw, color, paint, and stamp to her heart’s desire. I will spend hours running around outside with her. But when she asks me to “play” she’s asking me to pretend play. Ugh, pretend play.
I LOVE listening to her pretend play on her own or with her friends. It always makes me smile to hear the dialogue that she scripts off the cuff for her toys. But to participate is said improv is painful.
You wouldn’t think it would be so bad to just playfully voice a fairy or an Octonaut while they are off on an adventure in your living room. But it is. Something about it is just painful.
I try to get out of doing pretend play. I don’t respond when she asks me to play, trying to buy myself a few more minutes. I tell her that she has to wait until I finish the dishes, hoping that she’ll get wrapped up in her own imagination and forget about me. But she doesn’t. My daughter is relentless.
I always eventually give in because the guilt gets to me. My sweet little girl just wants to interact with me. She wants someone to join her in her little imaginary world. SIgh. So I become the voice of Tinkerbell.
Often I think, I should really put some effort into this pretend play. This is part of the reason I stay home with her – so I can be the one to be there for her to play with. I’ll give it my all! Besides, if I really go for it for twenty minutes or so maybe she’ll cut me a break after that.
But that never works. When I give her my best pretend material, it just makes her want more. Drats.
This is what I go through all day every day. She asks me to play. I try to get out of it. She asks me again. I try to get out of it. She asks me again. I give in and play. This is also part of the reason why I’m so excited when relatives come to visit. “Of course we’d love for you to visit, Nana!” I say. I can totally deflect the requests for a play partner on to Nana! Muwhahaha!
Parenting comes with a lot of responsibilities that aren’t always fun. I guess this is just one of those things. It’s like changing a baby’s dirty diaper. No one likes to do it, but it has to be done. No grown adult likes to be the voice of Minnie Mouse for 45 minutes. But it has to be done.
Did I just compare playing with my daughter to changing a poopy diaper? Ugh. There’s that guilt again. I should probably go play with her now.