28 Days of Play

Play and the Generation Gap

What I remember about my mother is this: she was there. She was there for band-aids and kisses and snacks. She would help us build tents in the backyard where we would hoard stacks of books, and she would pull down the trunk of old baby clothes from a high shelf so I could dress my dolls. She would unstick zippers and tie scarves in my hair and search for a beaded necklace to add to my dress-up ensemble. She made sure to foster an environment where play was encouraged, and when I needed her, she was there, but I don’t remember ever playing Barbie or baby doll with her.

I’m honored to be featured at You Plus 2 Parenting as part of Rachel Cedar’s 28 Days of Play series, and you can read the rest of this essay here. I’d love to hear your thoughts over there and keep the dialogue going on why it is we sometimes struggle with engaging in play with our children.

28 Days of Play

How Do You Spell Love?

221380137902535000_v5a3a4lD_cDespite a headache that won’t quit (going on 24 hours, hooray!) and a combined total of 8 hours of sleep over the last two nights, I’m excited to give this day to my girl as a chaperone on her field trip. It’s an all day affair capped off with a Valentine’s Day party back at school in the afternoon. She was so giddy last night she couldn’t sleep.

“I’m too excited to be with you ALL day tomorrow,” she said, cupping my face in her hands. And then I melted.

But before that, perhaps inspired by the 28 Days of Play blog series, we had a dance party. I abandoned the dirty dishes and ketchup smeared across the dinner table and crumbs piled on the floor, and danced with my kids. And played ring-around-the-rosie and taught the boys “I’m a Little Tea Pot”. And then we were animals in the jungle who happened to be plagued with narcolepsy and when we awoke via a mysterious spell we were magically transformed into a different animal. We went on this way until Zach got home, cleaned up the mess in the kitchen and propelled everyone upstairs for bed. Party pooper.

But we were still all giddy, see, because of the oxytocin – the feel good / love not hate / natural pain reliever / trust / bond / calming balm / immunity booster hormone that we have the power to release into our systems on a whim. You know the feeling you get after a good heart-to-heart conversation, or when you dance, or when you do something nice for someone, or when your babe drifts to sleep with his head in the crook of your neck and that sleepy-breath-sweaty-curls scent reduces you to a powerless nothing? That’s oxytocin. And the more we practice the easier and quicker we feel its effect and can reap the benefits of this wonder “drug”. It’s the same hormone that’s released during child birth and sex, so you know.

Happy Valentine’s Day, friends. It’s a good day to practice releasing some of that oxytocin.

(P.S. this time last year)