reading the bible with my toddler: casting pearls before swine.

Verily, I say unto you, cast not your hotwheels on the floor lest your father trample them with his feet and turn around and tear you to pieces. –The Book of Atticus

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I’m afraid I’m not very good at playing, even with kids I like quite a lot, so I have worried that playing with Atticus would be boring and that sparking his imagination would be another thing that would cause me to worry about my inadequacies as a parent. In fact, I was prepared to be pretty bad at it. I like reading books but driving trucks around on the carpet for hours is much less appealing to me.

But it hasn’t been so bad, really. We have been through some different phases at this point, and they are fun because he is hilarious and the things that come out of him are so interesting to me. There were the weeks we spent pretending that his bed was a fire truck, which meant we had to “stop at Lowe’s” quite a lot to get extra hoses and ladders, which he could only “carry” one at a time. So mostly I would sit on the bed while he climbed on and off it and let me tell you, I rocked at that game. There were the weeks we played bird nest and I got to be the mama bird who chewed up worms and spit them in the baby bird’s mouth, which I did with great vigor. We played turtle for a while with blankets representing our shells but turtles are slow so that didn’t last too long. And we have played a lot of trucks. Trucks driving on the carpet. Trucks crashing into each other. Trucks going up hills. Trucks dumping dirt. One million trucks.

Over the weekend, I started off on the wrong foot by not being careful with my words. Atticus said, “Play with me, Mama! Play with these trucks!” and I responded, “Sure, buddy, what do you want to play?” And then he gave me the stinkeye because I’m not supposed to say that. I’m just supposed to sit with him and drive trucks around and make truck noises and that’s all he wants from me so why do I have to ruin it by trying to plan out his play? There doesn’t have to be a narrative, mama. We don’t have to play something. We just need to play.

(In case you couldn’t tell, in this version of the story the monster trucks are the pearls and I am the swine.)

I have said before that one of the things that has surprised me about parenting is how much I enjoy spending time with Atticus. I even signed him up for soccer without a sense of dread because I am excited to see him try something new. As he is getting older and more independent, I am enjoying watching him just be. Even better, I am learning how to just be with him.

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