My five-year-old has a habit, lately, of laying on me and asking, “What can I dooooooo?”
The boy can self-play. He can group-play. He can understand complex games and is beginning to read. But I hadn’t realized, in my ignorance, that he’s developing normal childhood things like attachments, fears, and desires for acceptance. Besides those, he is the youngest child and normally has three other miniature people to play with.
When he’s stuck at home with just me, then, his options are limited to what I’ve planned. And that’s usually Wal-mart.
Or dishes, laundry, bathrooms, floors, yard work….
Perhaps due to my usual daily activities, The Bored One is an excellent worker. He comes along to the store, enjoys helping with dishes or toilets, and likes showing me how strong he is pushing his little wheelbarrow outside.
When I’m just sitting with my laptop, though, he does not know what to do. He can’t help with Mom saying, “I need to focus for 30 minutes.” Even if I hand him a coloring or activity book or an entire marble works set, he wants my attention -the very attention I wanted for writing.
So… this is the point at which I remember my priorities.
I set the laptop aside and play a game with him. We build a tower for the marbles. Together, we draw or paint or color.
I know that some parents need to work from home. Some can’t afford day care. I also know that the work can get done and there is still time for a game. It’s what’s most important, right?