Play has so many layers of meanings to it. A child’s ability to explore in a safe environment, experimenting and working out what goes where and what sounds it makes. I know that if given an option, Asher love having the two of us watching him and being with him play.
Child led is really a skill. It is so tempting to correct him or encourage him to pick up a different toy. My mind wanders to the messy kitchen or what can I make for dinner next week. Child led play forces me to be present and just enjoy being with him. It tells him that he is important to me. It demonstrates respect to him.
And so we set it up. It was post lunch and I reminded myself to be present. Asher asked me to open a box consisting of 4 mini cars and a car transporter. He wanted me to help him set it up. Then it was a game of sliding the cars. He named the colours and I repeated it, praising him as we go along. His attention went to the bigger cars and attempted to slide the it onto the truck that did not work. We laughed and we started a game of bumper cars. Suddenly he pointed to the slide and he asked me to be on it. I said “mummy is too big” but attempted to slide down which made him laughed. He went under the slide and pointed that out to me. I followed him and it became a game of chasey. His attention went back to the car transporter and started playing with it again. Then he handed me a car and I said “mummy’s turn” and he nodded. That two words turned into a game of turns, and cuddles. He went to the shelves and wanted some help with the cashier toy. We pretended to go shopping and paid for some items. We even pretended to eat an apple and drink some milk. He was having such a ball and giggled each time we pretended to eat something.
25 minutes later, I told him that we have 5 more minutes and then it is nap time. He said “no” and pulled me to a book. We did some reading and I told him we have a minute left. I sang the pack away song and he started helping. He took a book and walked towards the stairs. In bed, I read to him and he gradually drifted off to sleep.
His behaviour reminded me that there is so much joy in play. So much contentment and just being with him. I’m joining in his world. He loved the attention but most of all, he almost seems to be calmer. As I stared at him sleeping, that 30 minutes reminded me of what being a parent is about. I’m sure fast forward 18 years later, he will not remember these moments. But I do. and that’s what’s matters.
You hear me talk about the dilemma of making fast dinners but also wanting to add different variety to our meal planning each week. Winter is exciting to me because I can start braising and experimenting with different cuts of meats again. I am a fan of pressure or slow cooking and is determine to utilise our pressure cooker more. At our local markets, I picked up some gorgeous looking beef ribs and decided to experiment using a Pete Evan’s recipe from his Family Food Cook book. The flavours are wonderful, the meat melted in our mouths and it tasted even better the next day. The best bit about this kind of cooking is that that leaves me more time to play!
And that’s the bit about parenthood that I love.