Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Two year old play

I get such joy watching my toddler play. She is amazing in that she will entertain herself for HOURS without any adult prompting. I used to work with toddlers in a daycare, and it was rare that they would be content to play on their own for long periods of time.

The first two years of her life, her words were few and far between. She is starting to talk a lot more, but she really only talks when she is at home. She rarely talks in front of family members or strangers.

I love watching her when she doesn't know I am watching. I know I am a bit partial, but I think she is the most imaginative two year old in the world! She is so creative and funny!

The other day Chloe was in my bedroom and I snuck up to the door and was watching her. She was looking at herself in the full length mirror and this was her exact conversation..

"Hi me!"
"Bye me!"
(then she moved to the side so she couldn't see herself)
"Hey me, where doe?"
"Meeee? Are you???"
"Me hidin!"(moving back in front of the mirror)
"Oh hey me, der are!"

I couldn't hold it in anymore, I bursted out laughing so hard! She cracks me up! She also has the little people zoo, and a lot of little people's. The other day she was sitting on the floor with the giraffe and a little people boy. She was making a chomping noise and saying "No, no! No eat me!" "Giraffe (sounds like Jaf) eat boy, oh no! Boy yummy!"

And she likes to read books to herself, but it sounds like complete jibberish! She also has word books, with big pictures of stuff. On the food page she'll point to the apple and say "Dat nana (banana)? Noooooo!" then point to the grapes "Dat nana? Noooooo!" etc. Or on her animal book she points to the monkey and says "Mokey go woof woof? Nooooo! Mokey go meow? Nooooo!" And she cracks up at herself like she just told a joke.

She also entertains herself with the most random things. She'll play for a good twenty minutes with my deodorant, scooting it on the floor and saying "Go twain! Choo choo!" Or she'll set a penny on it and say "Money go ridin!" (which sounds a lot like Muh-wee doe widin!)

Watching her play, and hearing her giggle at herself brings me so much joy. She is so easy to entertain.

It seems like wherever you go, kids are whining about being bored. They have to bring their handheld video games to the doctor's office, because the ten minute wait is too long and painful. DVD players have become standard in new cars. There are hundreds of video games, movies, high tech toys, electronics..the list goes on and on. It seems as if all of these products are hitting the shelves faster than we can scoop them up for a pretty penny. Why are we so fascinated with things that keep US fascinated? Whatever happened with entertaining ourselves?

I remember playing car games when we went on road trips as a child. We would yell out the states from license plates, name things that we saw in alphabetical order, make lists and see if the next person could memorize them. We laughed a lot. We challenged each other mentally. We created memories. We didn't stare mindlessly at a TV screen, or put on headphones and tune each other out for the whole ride.

I also remember playing board games all of the time with my family. My dad was the Monopoly King, until we found out one day he had taped some 500 dollar Monopoly bills under the table and was dipping into the supply each time we played. But we got a great laugh out of that. We played card games, and NOT for money. We didn't spend every evening glued to the boob tube.

I think we need to go back to the basics. Forget about the high tech stuff. Take a big box, label it "Distractions" and throw in our computers, TVs, video games, headphones, cell phones, and movies. (It'd have to be a BIG box!) Sit down with our families and make up funny stories. Make dinner together, eat it together, wash dishes together. Go on hikes, go fishing, go on nature walks, go roller skating. Play hide and seek, blow the dust off of the old board games. Turn off the distracting TV shows and talk to each other. Find out what your seven year old wants to be when they grow up. Ask your little girl what she would do with a hundred dollars. Have your husband tell the kids about his favorite memory as a child.

I sometimes get a mini panic attack over the state of the country. Middle school children are getting pregnant, seven year olds are doing drugs, high schoolers are bringing guns to class. I don't know the exact statistics, but I bet most of those kids come from a home where the love and affection is hard to come by.

(cue cheesy music)

If we go back to the very root of family, being together, getting to know each other, open lines of communication, trust, compassion, helping each other out, and true, real, raw love, the world would be a better place.

I just don't understand why people have kids and don't make changes to their lifestyle. Having a kid changes everything (yeah, I made that up myself!).

(End cheesy music)

Sorry, went off on a tangent there. I'll climb off my soapbox now. The whole point of this post was to say that I supremely enjoy watching my two year old play and entertain herself. And I hope that as she grows up she will still have a passion for creative play, reading, and outdoor activities, rather than TV and computer games. (I say this as I am listening to music on my headphones, typing on the computer, and watching my TIVO'd shows out of the corner of my eye. *blush blush*. But hey, the kids are in bed at least!)


Corey said...

Good STuff here Julie! :) I so agree with you. People keep asking me if I'll get a DVD player for the car....umm no...she sees enough TV at home. I am not saying I'm perfect, in fact we had a "tv Day" just this weekend, as we were both sick, but on a whole I am really trying to encourage Kenna to play...and be creative!
thank you for sharing your words with me!

Jules said...

Yeah Corey, I am FAR from perfect. LOL! Just this morning I was SOOO tired so Chloe watched PBS for quite a while. But I don't even mind her watching TV if I am right there with her so we can interact and talk and laugh about it together. The main problem I have is parents plunking their kiddos in front of it all day long!

Jen said...

Soo so true Julie! Good read!
I have been thinking about this a lot too. I am on the verge of shutting of the cable...honestly it's spring/summer plenty of opps to be outside and not in front of the tv. I am going to start limiting my distracted time too. Really I am as I sit here iming and reading your blog, watching tv lmao. But hey like you said the kids are in bed! :) OH it irked me today I was at the park with Dalton and Ben...two dads came up at different times with their daughters, both of them were on their cell phones the ENTIRE time they were there! No interaction whatsoever and the girls would call out to them and they would have to call them several times before getting a WHAT?! UGH!! Makes me so sad!

Jules said...

Oh yes Jen, that ticks me off so badly too. Or I've seen my neighbor get home from work and their kids run up yelling "Daddy, Daddy!" and hug his legs, and he doesn't even pat their heads or anything. I just want to scream "WAKE UP! YOUR KIDS NEED YOU!"

People sometimes think that just taking care of their kids' immediate needs (food, shelter, clothing, etc) is all they need to do. All the other emotional needs slip through the cracks.

And you are brave as hell for even considering shutting off the cable. But you are so right in that if you don't have it to begin with, you can't sit around and watch it all summer!

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