Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Parallel Playing

I’ve been revisiting the Dr Spock book - surely a compulsory purchase for a new parent. I had skimmed through it in between Wife-features’ contractions but heck that was two and a half years ago. Time for a refresher course.

It turns out there’s a thing called Parallel Play. Our Toddler Who Must Be Obeyed has been doing it a lot recently. It means she’s perfectly happy being in the same general area as other kids but they don’t share toys or play the same games. I had to drop off some half melted half burnt biscuits to Toddler Group the other day (saving WF’s bacon it would seem as she elevated me to the status of a superhero) and I noticed the room was buzzing with bairns but all of them doing their own wee things.

We paid some friends a visit the other weekend and TWMBO was the same with their two kids, aged four and seven. Of course there were shared activities including painting, watching That Pig Cartoon (I can’t bear to say her name - she’s almost as omnipresent as anything by Julia Donaldson) and having a bath. Three kids aged 7, 4 and 2 sharing a bath? Yeah, we’re Green all right.

As for TWMBO’s playing with me, I’ve come to really value the time we have when I get home from work and before tea/bath/stories/bed. She’s always delighted to see I’m home and creates the most surreal games with strict rules. The other night I was marched back and forth loading and unloading shopping from a bag while it was explained her shop had unusual opening hours and required the return of the goods even after they’d been purchased and no I couldn’t have a refund.

As the days shorten (only four weeks till the shortest day though - just hang on in there) and temperature drops the opportunities for outdoor play lessen. The temptation is to bung on the TV or a DVD but I’m keen we find something more creative rather than passive. I have a week off work next month and I suspect my colleagues will picture me using this precious pre-Xmas time to bustle about getting all my shopping but in fact I plan to spend it being marched about by a two year old shopkeeper.

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