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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

the toddler at play

The toddler at play. This sounds like some law of nature "The toddler at play, stays at play. Constantly." Until they fall apart and take a nap. Then they wake up, and play.

As it should be.

And oh my what busy creatures they are!

Building and knocking down and rocking babies to sleep and spinning in circles and talking to toy trains. Busy. Busy. Busy.

As it should be.

When little man was a little toddler man I can remember nearly panicking about what we did or did not have at his disposal so as to prompt creative and meaningful play.

And now, relaxed, carefree, experienced mama that I am (tongue in cheek folks, tongue in cheek) I watch my third toddler play. She's laying on the floor in her brother's sleeping bag, hauled out from the closet.

"I have a pillow now, 'neath my head. And now I cozy. Zipper over my head."

And now she is singing, holding her brothers army guy truck (don't judge, k? HA)

And now she is going into her brother's room.

"I need dat castle! Get me dat castle! I need it!"

FINE, he says and gets it down. Say thank you baby. SAY THANK YOU.

And now she come in, with "dat castle" singing again. "I got da castle. And dis one guy up here! Going up and dis one guy here, come on guys!"

And she makes her fire truck guys walk up and down the castle ladder, knocking on the door, talking and singing.

So easy. So naturally playful. So many worlds in her mind, all mixed together, flowing from idea to idea without any inhibitions.

And I have come to realize all we can do is provide props for these worlds. We have a little area for her in the living room with a collection of toddler toys from over the years. A basket of trains and tracks. Some firetrucks and a school bus full of people and a lovely wooden minivan. Some wooden blocks, just bits of branches that we cut up and sanded and polished with beeswax. A basket of toddler books. Two child size rocking chairs, one pink and one red. A wooden Noah's ark set with animals. Two hobby horses and a wooden push toy. One of those Ikea wire bead toys. A basket of musical instruments. And a push cart and a cradle with an assortment of baby dolls. A few baskets for carrying around odds and ends. Sometimes a few silk scarves are up here too. They become blankets or capes for queens. Around the corner is a little kitchen with pots and food for tea parties and pretend birthday celebrations.

And this is her little world.

And when I just sit, and watch, amazed by her creativity, her little unique self.

And I find myself longing for the inhibited creativity, without censoring ideas, without compartmentalizing play.

And then she and her sister start fighting over the pink headband and she flings herself on the floor sobbing and it is naptime.

The world of the toddler.


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