The other night, when I got home from work I rushed to the kitchen – as usual – to fix up dinner. Although I adore cooking, these days our weeknight meals are not often glamorous ones. I set up a pot of water to boil and threw in the macaroni noodles for the kids, chopped up some veggies to saute for T and me, and started to prepare our protein when my little girl R swept me away from my work to the family room.
Because the days are long and my own days with R are short, I obliged.
She led me to the family room, where on the coffee table sat.an enormous pile of plastic foods – little cakes, cookies, cupcakes with blue or pink frosting, strawberries – an incredible assortment to be sure. She exclaimed to me, “Ok, Baby, what do you want to have?”
I chose a blue frosting topped “chocolate” cupcake.
“No, you can’t pick that, you can only have that after you eat your dinner.” So I got back to cooking and we all soon ate dinner.
But what fun awaited me after we ate our family meal (during which R spends most of her time balancing between her and her brother’s chairs, eats a few of her noodles, and basically dawdles). Fortunately I had not cooked up a storm and there weren’t many dishes, so we quickly adjourned to the basement to play.
Rather than having me chase her down the stairs, R took me by the hand, instructing me to take my time walking down the stairs “so you don’t get hurt, Baby.
“No, say, okay mommy.” (To be truthfully she said “ok memmy” in a pretty singsongy voice, so this is what I copied in my response.”
Once we got downstairs, she led me to the dollhouse to play, and positioned me in front of toys and said, “Ok baby, you can play with this! That is great, now give me the dolly and I will give her a bath while you hold her.” And together we played. During the course of this brief time she told me that tomorrow she was going to be at a meeting in the evening and that she would not be there to put me to sleep. “But it’s OK, baby, the nanny will be there with you, and you can just think of me and look at my picture!”
How I love these magical evenings. At the same time I enjoy them, I think of the experiences that have built themselves into my daughter’s repertoire. She has taken me on journeys to visit her grandmother — plopped an iPad (a pillow) on my lap for our trip – for instance (reminding me of some of the things I’m NOT so proud of during parenting). She has long days at “work” and relies on me to think of her and have fun while she is away. She holds my face lovingly and pats me back to sleep when I cry during a “nap,” and she lifts off the covers briskly and shrieks at me to “WAKE UP! It’s time for school!” When we are playing with blocks and I knock one down and start to whimper, R tells me that it’s ok, I can just build it up again.
I’ve been summoned by the prince to come up and cuddle with him and his sister so I must fly. What experiences have YOU built into your child’s repertoire?