My granddaughter Averie just turned one in August. My daughter and her husband took her to Target on her birthday and let her pick out a toy. She came home with a colorful plastic picnic basket equipped with a small tablecloth, plates, geometric shaped food items, cups and two big red forks. At first, she learned how to open the basket and remove all its contents as the "basket" repetitively echoed "open...close"..."open...close"..."open...close." After a day or two of getting acquainted with her new toy she was ready for advancement.
I said, "Averie let's have a picnic together!" We sat down and Nana laid out the 6 inch square checkered tablecloth on the family room floor along with the plates, cups and forks. My delectable food items included a square cheese sandwich, a triangle piece of watermelon, and a round cookie. Averie had before her a square cracker topped with cheese, a triangle slice of berry pie, and a round slice of an orange.
I picked up my plastic watermelon, held it up to my mouth pretending to chew and said, "Mmm this watermelon is so good--it tastes so yummy!"
At first, Averie just looked at me curiously as if to say, "Nana, what are you doing?" I repeated my "taste testing" with all my other food items accentuating how delicious everything was. Then, I offered my plastic watermelon to Averie and she held it up to her mouth and mimicked "Mmm" and handed it back to me.
Averie and I had our first pretend picnic! Later that day, my husband Don commented how fun it is to watch the two of us play together. I immediately flashed back to times with my own daughters sitting on our living room floor with Barbies, clothes, accessories, and all manner of pink Barbie paraphernalia strewn about. It is something my girls remember to this day. My regret is that I didn't do it often enough.
If you're a younger mom, allow me to encourage you:
play more...work less
Yes, I know there are so many tasks to complete around the house. There's the laundry, mopping the floor, cleaning up the kitchen, going to the grocery store, planning and preparing dinner, errands to run, and cleaning yourself up so you look decent when your husband arrives home. I too, put a lot of pressure on myself to "get things done."
Now that my girls are grown, I have to say, I wish I'd spent less time with housework and more time playing pretend. The reality of life hits home sooner than we think.
Take some time today and play!