“I am not young enough to know everything.” – Oscar Wilde

 I spent the morning coloring with Thomas.

He sweetly scribbled lines and named them Mom, Dad, Balloon, and Grasses, respectively. I bit my lip and doodled my signature across checks. I’ll mail them in, begrudgingly, because water costs money and what the hell kind of communist crap is this and also Global Warming and damn interest rates and dead polar bears and starving kids in Africa, too. He hummed “Twinkle Star”, voice skipping like a pig-tailed Girl Scout. I mostly bah-humbugged.

Then we read.

   I studied a Huffington Post article about the importance of recreational time in adulthood. This Dr. Dayton insists that “Grown ups forget to play. But play, it turns out, is just as important for adults as it is for children.” I was midway through the text when I lost concentration. Thomas, newly three and sure in his abilities, laughed and “read” through a pile of picture books beside me: “Hey girl, hey girl, BEAR! Hey girl, hey girl, APPLE! Hey girl, WOO WOO TRUCKS! Hey girl, hey girl PWINCESS LIZZORD BORD (Princess Lizard Bird)!”.  I didn’t pause to wonder who taught him to read like a sassy call girl. “Not now,” I shoot him The Eye, “I’m trying to really read”.

     We jumped about, too.

I am face-flat on the floor, turning my head to side for air to cool my red face. Two minutes into some Buns & Thighs video and I am feeling the burn of a thousand hells. “Stop smiling. God., ” I pant at the boy, who’s busy completing Mountain Climbers and High Knees with the fervor of a Red Bull chugging cheetah. “I’s esser-skizings, Moms! I’s doin’ oga. Look, Moms. Look at my oga!,” he balances his weight on a foot and a head. Downward Puppy. I’m proud but mostly furious my body doesn’t work that way. I tell him to cut it out because he’ll snap his neck… or squats shame me.

Of course, we step (run) outside for fresh air.

 My son runs after a ball, rides his bike around the loop, builds two rock castles and checks the mail before I’ve managed to close the door behind us. He lugs a bucket and some old gardening tools to the curb where filthy sand and dirt collect. Leftovers from our nasty streets that didn’t quite make it to the sewage drain. “GOLD!,” he hollers. I am squinting and a little cold in the arms and a little hot in the armpits and a little achy in the feet. I can’t find glasses.”Stupid ass sunshine, all sunny and sh*t,” I think in my head and I can see my grouchy, old lady self shaking a hateful fist at the glowing sun. I’m a little alarmed at this, that bright light gets me all hostile, but I am too busy preparing to yell at imaginary neighbor kids to “Keep your god damn balls out of my yard, you raggamuffin hooligan hoodlum riff raff!”. “Tweasure leaf, Mom! Tweasure!,” he grasps a crispy, crumbling leaf in the palm of his happy hands. I tell him to drop it. People catch the SARS that way.

    Before nap, a little music time.

    For the first time today we are on the same page, YouTube, listening to a new release from one of my favorite artists. The song talks of snowball fights and bicycles and make-believe, big plans for rocket ships and bigger plans to soar with them. Thomas bobs his head and taps his toes immediately familiar with this beat. But I hesitate, a little new to all this talk of play and youth and fun-without-a-tax-credit-at-the-end-of-it. By the end we are both singing.

And I am apologizing to the sun for hating its generally sunny disposition.

And I am ready to hey girl, hey girl turn off the computer and listen to my boy’s abstract literary interpretations.

And I am still pissed we have to pay so much for water, but I’m working on it, okay?

And I’m hoping I can remember the importance of really playing.

And I am praying he’ll never forget.

Have you played today?


37 thoughts on “replay

  1. Um .. well, since I don’t work, most people would call it “play”. So I “played” at hauling water from across the street to lessen the load on our failing pump, “played” at hauling wood into the house, “played” at fixing a wall gas heater, “played” at threatening to kill the cats for making a mess.
    (Okay, you caught me. The last one WAS play – for me, at least. And I did squeeze in a FEW dozen space warship designs, too, but hey – designing your own starfleet is WORK! 😀 )

  2. “Playing” in my adult world consists of activities Mommies and Daddies do and is generally frowned upon, not to mention illegal, when children are involved. Maybe that’s the kind of playing Mr. Huff Post was referring to. Though, I’m not sure you’ll have the energy left for that sort of play when little man goes to bed. I’m still convinced children get their energy by siphoning it out of us.

  3. I love the parallels between adult and child…. really puts a perspective on things, doesn’t it? 😉 It helps to have a kid around the house to remind us to let loose and relax from time to time. My sister, who’s 10 years younger than me, is sadly growing out of playing but at the very least, we can still hold a 10 min conversation with nothing but wacky faces.

    1. Wacky Face Dialogue totally counts as playing. Sometimes, if the boy and I are particularly rowdy, we add armpit farts and burp ABC’s to the mix. Disgusting, I know. But totally fun.

  4. lol, my son likes to “exercise” with me as well. He has come and asked me if it was time too. “Please no! I do not need my conscious and my 4 year old telling me to get off my butt” lol. I always have energy and exercise envy when he does it with me.

    1. Double the guilt trip! It’s the worst! I think the smiling and giggling is what really gets me. I’m normally too out of breath to speak but if I could I certainly wouldn’t be so giddy about doing squats. Salt in the wound!

    1. That knocks the old self-esteem down a couple rungs, right? Just when I thought I was a champion fitness guru (read: I managed to complete the Shred video without passing out) the boy shows me that I’m still not that fit!

    1. She is my absolute favorite! I’ve made Tom sit through more BC concerts than he would care to admit. Always one of the only dudes in the room. I just started listening to her new album and I am obsessed!

  5. “We do not stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing!” Benjamin Franklin. Then again, he tried to fly a kite in a lightning storm. So maybe a little less with the childishness.

    1. Oh, you are weird. Also, I’m coming over for Thanksgiving supper. Hope you don’t mind. I burned my hands making macaroni, so our holiday feast is quickly turning into PB sandwiches.

  6. Play? No, I don’t think I did that today (or yesterday). I think adults should play more. I’m going to pitch that to my boss tomorrow. Yeah. He didn’t like my siesta idea, I doubt he’ll go for play, either 🙂

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