I watch you sitting in the sandpit playing with your dinosaurs. You are involved in a dramatic game on your own, with lots of excited squeals. You are so engrossed in the game, that as I sit nearby with your baby brother on the grass in the sunshine, you have not needed my contribution at all. We have been out here for hours now. Just playing.
In your little world, everything could not be simpler. You have your Mum by your side if you need her, and an old sandpit to play in. You are happy and content.
I notice the way you do slightly different voices for the different dinosaurs. How your carefully erected peg houses hold tiny leaves to resemble trees. You talk of volcanoes erupting and lava spewing, the dinosaurs have to help each other escape.
You would think that after three years of being your Mother, I would know everything about you.
But over the last few months, I now know you even better.
I know how you play.
I know how your imagination works.
And I know how little you really need.
You just need me. A few simple toys. And time spent outside in the backyard.
That is all.
You don’t need music class. Soccer class. Playgroup. Playgrounds. Field trips. You don’t even really need daycare.
All of those things are nice. You have fun, play, learn and make friends. It keeps us both busy. It gives structure to our day.
But when we are told we must stay home, we have had to reshape our days. Simplify our life. And the results have been eye opening.
With nowhere to go, there is no rush to get dressed. By being home for snacks and lunch, there are no lunchboxes to make. We don’t have to hurry home for naps. Make it somewhere by a certain time. You seem more relaxed. I am definitely more relaxed.
Can it be boring? Absolutely.
Do I sometimes crave to drop you at daycare so I can spend time working uninterrupted or spend alone time with your baby brother? Definitely.
But I have learnt so much more about you in this time. Things I may never have learnt otherwise.
I have seen that you learn through unstructured play in the most remarkable way. Your imagination is extraordinary. You make up games. Sometimes with my help. Sometimes all by yourself. You don’t seem to miss the activities that I used to take you to.
I have gotten to know you a little bit better.
And as the world slowly starts to resemble what it once was. As our freedom to resume these activities that used to make up our lives become available to us again, I am almost disappointed. With no pressure to go anywhere or do anything, you have been given a much simpler childhood these last few months.
So I will try to keep our life more simple.
I will try not to rush you.
I will try to let you guide me more.
Because I can learn just as much from you as you can learn from me.
And I have learnt that even though the world has changed dramatically, childhood is still much the same. Simple play through imagination is all you really need.
I know that about you a little bit better now.
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