Friday, January 7, 2011

On the road to Laughter - a valuable reminder from Lesley.

One of my new year's resolutions is to laugh more.  And as I sat thinking about just how I would go about doing that, I remembered a valuable reminder I got from my friend Lesley last year. 

In November, hubby and I spent a weekend down in the US visiting one of my best friends. Lesley and her husband live in a terrific town where they are raising their beautiful 18 month old twins.  We went down to see our friends, and to get in some retail therapy (I don't like shopping, so I only go about twice a year and do some major damage).  We had a terrific weekend where we got to spend some time with Lesley and her family, and we spent some time out shopping on our own.  My friend is a dynamo.  She used to be an executive, but now stays home with her beautiful babes and does an incredible job managing them and the rest of her household.  It's incredible, she has everything down to a science, and her kids are happy - and they all really enjoy being a family.  It made me realize that I don't enjoy my kids as much as I should, that sometimes I tend to see parenting as a job and not as the blessing and privilege that it is.

Watching her with her babies made me realize that I don't actually play with my kids anymore.  With the exception of a few minutes in the kitchen prepping their meals and snacks, my friend was 100% present and active with her kids while they were awake.  She read to them, played with their toys with them, chased after them..... it was inspiring.   Please don't get me wrong, I too read to my kids, and play with them, and go on outings, but my philosophy on toys is that they are there to entertain the kids, not me.  But watching Lesley taught me that I have to take the time to get down on my kids' levels and play with them, with their toys - something I haven't been doing as much since they have gotten older.  So instead of setting out their crayons and paper, I will sit and colour with them.  Instead of setting up their play dough and letting them play, I will sit and create with them.  Okay, who am I kidding, maybe not all the time - but I will certainly do it more often!

Now, I have to admit that some of my friends warned me not to post this - because in their mind all parents play actively with their children from the time they get up to the time they go to bed........and that by posting this I am admitting to some huge parenting flaw.  Well, I don't think I'm alone on this, I think that moms like Lesley are the exception rather than the rule.  So, thank you my good friend, for the valuable reminder.  I think it will go a long way in helping me laugh more.

Now that I have put this out there, I am afraid the next thing I will "learn" is that when I schedule play dates for my kids, that I am actually supposed to play with them?  Nah, I am certain that the point of play dates is so the kids can entertain themselves for a few hours (while I provide the odd snack and referee any arguments), right?

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