Posts Tagged ‘ playtime ’

I Think My Kid Is Showing Signs Of OCD

Monday, September 16th, 2013

2 years, 10 months.

Dear Jack,

As you approach the age of 3, I can see how logic and detail are becoming more relevant in your life.

There is now such a thing as reason and you are beginning to make decisions based on it.

Sunday afternoon I layed down next to you in the living room as you played with your cars and trucks.

And by “play,” I mean that you carefully parked them all along one edge of the blanket, in order of length, from what I could tell.

Then, once they were all perfectly lined up, you reparked them along another edge of the blanket, but the rule was that each one have to be removed in reverse.

You spent like 30 minutes doing this.

The whole time, you never revealed to me what the rules were, instead only telling me, “I got to park my cars.”

Other than that, you barely said a word, being surprisingly self-contained and self-sufficient.

Now that you can sing your ABC’s and successfully count to 10, I believe that finding order in things is important to you.

You want to find a place for everything. You want to organize the chaos.

So that means that playtime sometimes means organizing-and-categorizing-time.

Hopefully you won’t end up with some of the weird ticks I did when I was a kid, like “skiing on and jumping over” the power lines by biting my teeth together while riding in the car.

(I hope that example makes sense to… anyone at all!)

Or making sure my bedroom lights were turned off by tapping the switch three times. (As if that makes any sense either!)

I eventually overcame the power of my superstitions, but it wasn’t easy. It was nearly as rough as trying to give up a caffeine addiction.

So maybe you’re not actually developing OCD… but as I look at these pictures, I sort of wonder.

Even if you were a bit OCD, I’d say that’s a good thing.

I’d rather you be slightly obsessed with trying to control things instead of passively letting them control you.





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I’ve Been Incongruent To My Kid’s Parallel Play Style

Monday, August 19th, 2013

2 years, 9 months.

Dear Jack,

I’m finally just now realizing why you insist on asking me, as well as Mommy, to play with you on the living room floor, only to have you get upset once we actually try to play with you.

And, no, we can’t do other things like read a magazine or check our email since you’re not actually interacting with us.

We have to be playing too, but there are rules…

It’s because you’re used to “parallel play,” like at school with your friends.

You’re used to playing near other people, but not actually with them, the way I would define the word “with.”

So I’m learning to respect that.

Now I know not to grab a monster truck near you and say in a falsetto voice, like you use when you narrate your own playtime, “Hey, you want to race?”

Because you instantly tell me that’s your monster truck.

Then you assign me another truck you don’t care about for that particular moment.

Well, I figured out how to do this thing right.

I find a toy that I assume you will think is undesirable; one that is out of your view. I sort of turn to the side where I’m not facing you, but where you can still see what I’m doing.

Then I make it seem like whatever I’m doing with that toy is the coolest thing ever. Turns out, whatever it is, you always immediately end up trying to copy me with whatever “cooler” toy you have.

Suddenly, your monster truck will be driving to Whole Foods because my yellow race car just announced he was going.

It’s almost a competition of stories, of sorts.

I have these ideal images in my head of what it means to be a classic yet modern dad who actively plays cars with his son- a certain way.

You don’t.




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My Kid Turns Playtime Into Manual Labor

Sunday, August 4th, 2013

2 years, 8 month.

Dear Jack,

At one point last week on our family vacation in California, I ended up becoming the official “adult in charge of all the kids” for about an hour.

It just so happened that you and your cousins discovered the random packs of balloons sitting on a shelf in the garage… along with the water hose behind the house.

Who was I to deny your rights to create and destroy water balloons?

My motto is that “it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than it is for permission.”

I wasn’t sure if Grandma, or any of the other parents of your cousins, would have a problem with it, but I took my chances.

Turns out, Grandma (Mommy’s Mommy) later told me that’s why those balloons were there- to make water balloons.

Look at this picture of you holding one. It’s hilarious, ridiculous, and pretty awesome, actually.

You look like an Austrian weight lifter.

I started out by making you legitimate sized water balloons, but I could tell you wanted more of a challenge.

So I started filling them up so full of water that you could barely carry them, because you were so inspired to keep them from dropping and bursting, that it become like a competition to you.

Or at least good ole fashioned manual labor.

And it wasn’t just the water balloons.

You took great pride each day in washing your Thomas the Train tricycle.

I mean… your monster truck.

If I had to calculate the percentage of time you spent actually riding it versus how much time you spent giving it a wash, I would say 30% riding versus 70% washing.

So that means the majority of the time you were “playing” with your tricycle, you were technically working instead.

When it comes to playtime, you don’t play around.








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Little Sleep + Plastic Sports Equipment = Caveman Mode

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

2 years, 8 months.

Dear Jack,

Here at the end of the 2nd full day of vacation with Mommy’s side of the family here in Sacramento, I’ve officially realized the way it’s going to be:

You’re totally going to get away with running around the whole week wearing nothing but a diaper.

It’s not intentional, of course.

Mommy purposely packed your cutest outfits for this trip. And you do wear them, for about the first two hours of the day.

Then it’s warm enough to play in the little wading pool in the backyard; as you step in the squishy black mud as you search for new toys to throw in your pool.

I laughed to myself yesterday after dinner. There I was, playfully spanking you with an over-sized, plastic, hollow baseball bat, as you attempted to hit me with the accompanying plastic baseball while swinging a plastic golf club at me.

You were in total caveman mode. And I was encouraging it…

Even after our impromptu game, you continued walking around like a gorilla, grunting your way across the background as family members tried to speak to you in English.

It wasn’t the first time I saw you this way. I thought back to Father’s Day when you gave me my unofficial gift

Now that you have finally caught up on most of your missed sleep due to the early flight out here, the time change, and all the excitement of your cousins making you into a pet version of Animal from the Muppets, I don’t expect you to go full caveman again this week.

Enjoy the “no shirt, no shoes, no pants, no problem” policy while you can, though. We are on vacation, remember.





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Daddy, I Kick You In The Face Right Now?

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

2 years, 8 months.

Dear Jack,

I suppose it would sound weird to describe to anyone else our shared understanding on how you and I play together, when it comes to your toys.

Basically, you always want me to lay down on the floor near you as you push your monster trucks over less fortunate Hot Wheels.

But, you do not want me to actually touch any of your cars and actually play with you.

You want me there, but not officially involved.

So I honor your style. I just lay there on the floor while you play. From time to time, I help you locate whichever random car in your toy box you can’t seem to find at the moment.

While I honestly would prefer to get involved in your plot lines of play time, I have to admit it’s nice to be able to just lay there lazily on a Saturday morning like that.

Granted, I have to keep my eyes open because sometimes you will just charge towards me with a crazy smile on your face; therefore initiating a wrestling match.

Last weekend, you caught me off guard with a very sincere question:

“Daddy, I kick you in the face right now?”

It was hard not to laugh, but I could see you were truly unsure of the answer.

“No, Son. We don’t kick each other in the face. There’s a difference between playing and hurting. We can’t kick each other in the face, but we can’t definitely wrestle.”

I’m empathizing with you, though. It’s got to be confusing, trying to figure out what is playing and what is hurting.

All I can say is, trial and error. But yeah, it’s always a good idea to ask me first when you’re unsure about which is which.

When it comes to kicking me in the face, I’m especially glad you asked first!




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