Learn & Play · motherhood

P is for Plain Old Playing

So, you may have noticed that we do a letter of the week around here.  I try to do some kind of activity with the littles every morning, and we incorporate the letter of the week into that and sometimes into meals or family night or whatever.  I love it, because when there are no limitations I can’t come up with anything fun to do, but when everything has to start with a certain letter, the ideas flow and the possibilities are endless!  I know that sounds backwards, but it’s how I roll.

Anyway.  Letter of the week.  I first got this idea from a friend who has been doing it for years and years.  I’ve copied some of her ideas, found others online, and even thought of a few myself – yes!!  But I don’t own a lot of craft supplies, and I don’t always have the time or energy to think of or prepare something awesome.  And I don’t always have all the perfect library books to go with the letter.  And sometimes I start feeling like if I don’t have something cool to do with my kids (or the energy to do it), then I might as well just give up and put on Daniel Tiger while I do my own thing instead.  Don’t get me wrong.  Daniel Tiger is marvelous, but it doesn’t quite replace quality time with Mom, does it?

So there I was Monday morning, thinking about the letter P, and drawing a blank.  And I didn’t have any good books, and I didn’t feel like going to the library.  Is anyone else having a reeeeeally hard time adjusting to daylight savings??  As I was about to skip our morning time together and put on a show for the kids, I felt the tiniest little nudge in the other direction.  Something telling me that I still needed to spend time with my kids, even if we wouldn’t have a cute craft or anything to show for it.  So I decided that P is for plain old playing, and I went downstairs and just played with the kids.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I think actually playing with kids is pretty hard.  Sometimes I get in the groove and just enjoy it, but most of the time it takes real effort to stay present and not start cleaning or something.  Maybe I’m just so used to multi-tasking that it’s hard to just do one thing.  Anyway, because it’s so hard for me, it doesn’t happen that often.  But I made myself do it and I was so glad I did.  We had fun, I wasn’t constantly breaking up mischief while trying to get something else done, and the kids were much happier.

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This little chica has been really into puzzles lately.  This particular choice might be a little easier if she knew the alphabet.

It’s ironic, but once I let go of my self-imposed expectations of what our time together should look like, the letter-P-themed ideas just dropped into my lap.  Eliza wanted to do puzzles.  Devin suggested we go play pickle ball at the park for family night.  I ended up packing a picnic.  I know, I’m getting cheesy now, but I couldn’t help but notice.  And it was a good lesson for me that the thing I originally wanted happened easily after I just stopped trying to force it and focused on the real… wait for it… priority!  Oh boy.  I’ll stop now.

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See?  Look at those happy, blurry kids!

Check it out!  As I was posting the pictures above I saw this one from that same day.  Devin and I played St. Petersburg after the kids went to bed.  Didn’t even think about it.  Ha!  The letter of the week reigns!

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