Worse than Tantrums

Phoebe has recently started to utter the three little words I never want to hear from my child.

No, not “I hate you*.” Not “I failed algebra” or “The car’s totaled” or even “I do drugs.” Not “Oops, I’m pregnant” or “I’m in jail” or “He hits me” or “I’m a Republican.”** No, the words are:

“You play too!”

I don’t like to play with my children. There, I said it. I will read to my children, a million books a day. I will find markers and paper and I will open play-doh cans. I will push on the swings and spot on the slide. I will put movies in the DVD player and find favorites on the ipod. I will even stack blocks and play board games once in a while.

But tea parties with bears and Barbies – no. Don’t ask me to play school, or doctor, or pet shop. I don’t want to be a zookeeper, or the good fairy, or the boyfriend’s big sister. Don’t count on me to make up conversations with your dolls and for the love of all that’s holy, don’t ever, ever hand me a puppet.

Am I alone in this, am I awful? Seriously, sit me down with a bunch of Barbie dolls and my brain starts to fairly itch with boredom. I think whatever element of whimsy or imagination required to enjoy that kind of thing (and I did love that kind of thing when I was young) has long since died off, never to return.

Fortunately, Chris is really good at this type of stuff. In fact it perplexes me that both of my daughters are mama’s girls because really, Chris is the fun parent. I’m the one who brushes teeth and folds the laundry and supplies the snacks; Chris is the one who pretends to be a vampire and sets up the train sets and re-enacts favorite movie scenes and . . . well, lots of other things while I sneak away to vacuum the living room or, more likely, read a magazine.

Mallory, I think, has realized my limitations; she rarely asks me to play with her anymore. It’ll take a year or two before Phoebe clues in. Til then, I’m sorry, sweetie, but Mommy’s busy cleaning the kitchen.

*Mallory has actually said “I hate you!” to me and it didn’t bother me, I suppose because it was in the middle of a hysterical fit when nothing she said was making any sense. I guess if she came out with it in a cool, calculating way it would hurt a bit.

**I started making this list as a witty rhetorical device and was subsequently alarmed at how easy it is to invent calamities which may befall one’s children. The Republican thing is a joke, of course. Sort of.


aimee said...

I love your astericks! Hilarious!

And, I too, (looking around to see if her son that now can read is around), do not like to play with my children.

Noah, unfortanately, always wants me to play. Pokeman, Batman, Spiderman, ect.

I will build things with legos.

You aren't alone.

MomofK9s said...

Well, I love to play pet shop, zoo keeper, picnic, fort or anything with animals with your children. You know that I am good with making up "projects" And I can dress up a Barbie with the best of them, but play Barbies or dolls? Well I just can't. Now I used to be REALLY good at this when I was younger, but now when Mallory asks me to play dolls I say "Hey, what about drawing"! And as you know I can't draw but I am good at doodles so that seems to work. Oh and playing kitchen. I can do that too!

J&H Noble said...

I'm with you guys here, although my child is yet to be born. I will gladly read and encourage and commend on their accomplishments, but I'm scared out of my mind thinking of how to play with a little boy more than the hour or two I'm usually with my nephews! One day at a time, though, and I will not allow myself a panic attack!