Nothing is more satisfying when our child started exploring her imagination. She would talk to herself as she play independently. Any type of toys turn to whatever character she wants it to be. She would pretend to be somebody. We would stop whatever we are doing and watch her quietly. We video taped or took a quick click to seal that moment. When we get caught, she would stop and feel embarrassed, or we get yelled at for interrupting or asked us to join the fun in her imaginary world.
Her mind does not stop, it keeps growing and learning. Her understanding to things widens. It gets more real, more than just curiosity.
She speaks her mind confidently because what she sees and hears come from my husband and I, and her two older brothers. “Monkey see, monkey do”.
She trusts us, depend on us, do the things we do and speak the words we say.
She thought everything is right and acceptable until when we fail and we are sorry, when wants are not given, when arguments between parents or siblings are witnessed, when apology and forgiveness are received.
She realized that life is not fair, not perfect, and that you don’t always get what you want. It is difficult.
It was and still easy and care-free in her imagination, in her alone time with the “things” she is fond of for a while, and that is her pretend time or play time.
As she gets older, perceiving things get more serious. She is not just a kid with a playful heart and mind, she is sensitive, demanding, loving, sweet, and can be a pain in the butt but she is just like us in need of real connection in the world.
She needs 100% attention. In need of understanding, and help in dealing with her demands and frustrations, in need of reassurance.
She can distinguish between genuine and pretentious act. She is like a detective, she can tell when I am not fully committed in spending time with her. She listens keenly to the tone of our voice and watch closely the expressions in our face.
She voices out whatever discomfort and dissatisfaction she notices. She is right to the point.
I am not a perfect Mom and I always struggle to be a good one. She helped me realize what matters most for a kid like her.
She doesn’t like the
“Oh Yeah!” response. For her, it does not sound like I am paying enough attention. I am pretending according to her. It is not genuine. She is hoping that I will STOP what I am doing, take a LOOK on what she is trying to show me and LISTEN. I think, these are the only way I can SEE what she is trying to share with me; and SEE the right response I can genuinely give back to her.
When I tell her we are going to have fun today. We are going to the playground. It means her and me. She does not like it when the
“Playground Becomes My (Mom”s) “Breakground” .
She doesn’t make friends right away at the playground. Yes, of all creatures, kids are quick to make friends but it’s not always the case. As soon as we get there, I will look for a bench to sit. I would say, “Okay Sweetheart, have fun. I’ll be right here.” I forget to take time to look around and see if there is a kid whom she knows she can play with? I think of taking a break while she is playing. It’s okay to chat the day away with other parents when she is actually having fun socializing with other kids. When she is playing alone, she would ask me to play with her. Having fun does not always mean spending it with fellow kids alone. I want her to enjoy the TIME being there, I don’t want to push the IDEA that since it’s a playground it’s going to be fantastic, that she will be with other kids, Mom will have a break. But seriously, I really don’t get a break not even at the playground, I have to keep an eye on her anyway. I am not complaining by the way. This is just one of the real scenarios that other kids can’t replace my status as a mother on that day. To be around for her; and our time together matters most.
One more thing she opposes , and you’ll know it when you hear her say,
“You’re taking too much photos”. When we go for a walk, she wants to make sure that it involves just me and her. She wants me to leave my camera at home. She likes to look at things. She talks a lot. She likes to discuss every detail of anything she can find. This happened many times, she had to stop talking excitedly about something she discovered because I was on the ground taking a picture of something. Oh boy, she complained about it. This actually made me feel guilty. She uttered, “You just want to take pictures Mom, this is boring”. I still take my camera when we go for a hike and I try really hard that it won’t be my main focus. I always hope not to make things complicated.
She is only a little girl but smart enough to discern how genuine my intentions are; and I can’t make excuses when I fail her.
She’s not stuck in her “imaginary” world although she still enjoys it.
She understands that Dad, Mom, Brothers and Herself are for real. It involves quality time, love, patience (a lot of this), listening (yeah, non stop listening) and a lot of that good stuff (imperfections too) to live happily ever after and to live the best we can.