Let the games begin

Sophie has reached the age where she invents new games. Three new games in the bath yesterday alone: a look-up-the-drain-spout-game, a splash-hands-while-humming song, and a submerge-one-toy-inside-another challenge.

She’s especially intrested in make-believe, lately. One of her favorites is make-believe peek-a-boo, in which she half-hides something (for instance, draping a blanket over her daddy), then asks me where it is with a dramatically exaggerated shrug (“Where daddy?”) and when I pretend ignorance and concern, she gets to pretend to discover the hidden object, revealing it with a flourish. She  has played this game in many variations: pretend-hiding herself, her doll, her marble. This morning, she even managed to pretend-hide the cat, despite many disgruntled looks from that cat, who didn’t appreciate being hidden over and over again.

Another favorite: she cooks pingpong balls in her toy pan, declares the balls “Hot,” then waits for me to blow on them, to cool off her pretend-food. She can keep up the ask-mommy-to-blow-on-fake-food game for almost an hour. It’s adorable and tedious.

And that’s the hardest part to write. I love Sophie ferociously, I scare myself with my love for her, I love even her smell (she smells like sunshine and cotton and cream and a very light whiff of ginger). I’m delighted by her, obsessed by her (as this blog probably reveals) and yet also exhausted by her, sometimes bored by her. Motherhood is less boring now that she’s become more able to talk and create and express her independence, so I love all these new games that she’s inventing — but I also become bored after forty-five minutes of peekaboo.

That part is hard to write, because I don’t want to imply that I dislike motherhood, or Sophie herself.

I think my blog-readers understand. I hope. Recently, two older women have separately told me that the biggest difference between my experience of motherhood and theirs is that I can say, out loud, “Sometimes motherhood is boring.” In a previous generation, that sentiment was too transgressive to admit to.

I’m glad I can say it, and blog it, even if some other people probably still misunderstand.

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5 responses to “Let the games begin

  1. Tracy

    You are lucky you are in California. Try being stuck inside the house all day with kids because there is a raging ice storm outside. Add to that your husband is at work and you have no adult to talk to. Add to that you just really want some “me” time but you can’t get it. I love my kids, too, but I can’t stand being trapped indoors where everywhere I look there is a mess I could be cleaning but don’t want to! Over Christmas break, one of my best days was when we went to the Burger King in Foxon that has the indoor playground. So sad!

  2. Tracy

    By the way, without speaking, Finn has been able to engage me in the “I’m going to get you!” game. It’s amazing how a little person who can’t talk can get me to chase him around the upstairs. His favorite time to do this is when he is stark naked right before his bath. It’s one of the high points of my day no matter what kind of mood I’m in!

  3. elewinnek

    Tracy, I don’t know how you and all the other winter-bound parents do it. Or all the parents who live in unsafe urban neighborhoods where they can’t go out any time of year. I wish I could offer you more than my sympathy. On rainy days here, Sophie and I go to the library, go to the bookstore (not to shop, but to play with the train in the kids’ section), or fill up some bowls with lentils and pretend it’s a sandbox, and mostly rely on other mom-friends to keep us sane.

  4. wifenworkingmom

    I discovered your blog today and even though I am not much of a blogger or a browser, I wanted you to know your blog is inspirational. It is refreshing and creative and I look forward to more stories! I think I might have crossed paths with you at the 12 hours of Temecula. I was searching stories and I found your blog and saw the photos on the side bar. Thank you so much for your heartfelt words.

  5. amysilverman

    ditto! thank you! the only thing worse than the (sometime) tedium of motherhood is the guilt associated with acknowledging the tedium. i’m always really popular when i blurt out how uncomfortable babies make me til they’re out of the floppy neck stage. i know we’re not supposed to feel that way, but i can’t help it, i thought i’d break mine and that took some of the fun out of it. but not the love. and they do smell good, although sometimes i get a whiff of playground off the top of the head of one of mine and it’s not that little girl smell anymore. so sniff away now!

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