This weekend, I had an especially enlightening visit with my daughter, who is now a bright and bushy three-year-old, and learned a particularly valuable lesson from her; it’s particularly easy to forget the things that you loved when you were a kid, so, on occasion, you need to make an effort to remember those things.
How did my wonderful, hyper-intelligent, shockingly obedient daughter teach me this, you might ask?
Therein lies the story.
On this particular day, I had decided that my daughter and I were going to study. She starts preschool in a couple of weeks, and I had long ago decided that MY daughter was not going to go to school deficient in any conceivable category or area of development. I had my list of various skills, and I wanted my daughter to excel at them all. So, as we watched Leapfrog DVDs, I tried multitasking by going through an alphabet book and plying her with orange juice and fruit. This worked for about 20 minutes before she decided that sitting in one place watching cartoons about letters and making words and repeating the Alphabet Song was as exciting as watching paint dry, and before too long she was riding my significant other around like a horse and closing herself in her room. Without Daddy.
This got me thinking. Obviously I was going about the whole thing wrong, at least for this day.
Then I had my revelation.
When my daughter returned from her room (leaving my girlfriend – now simply known as Horse, in her bedroom on the floor), I decided to go a completely different way. I grabbed a few chairs from the dining room table, an unused blanket, and a few pillows, draped the blanket over the chair backs, and stabilized the whole structure with heavier throw pillows and POW, I had a fort. Or, what my daughter called “House”. Her own house.
The change was amazing. With extra chairs, I built a window for the house. My daughter brought her alphabet puzzles, coloring books, Elmo toys and various other items into her house and promptly invited myself and my girlfriend inside, where she cleaned up and organized, and told us stories, and was more than happy to study the alphabet or do whatever other little tedious task that I might want her to do.
By the time that this particular little day was over, I had learned something deceptively important; remember to do things with your kids that you remember having fun doing when YOU were a kid.
Sometimes, in the midst of paying bills, getting insurance, doing yard work, and generally putting your higher brain functions on standby 5 or 6 days out of the week, one forgets that swinging on a swing, playing hide and seek, and having your own fort in the middle of the living room can be the most fun things in the world… especially if you are a three year old.
Lesson learned and not to be forgotten. Have a little fun. And now, back to the Food Network.