Posted by Gina Perkins, Pre-School Mommie | Posted in The Preschool Mommy | Posted on 15-05-2012
Tags: game, Gina Perkins, imagination, mimicking, mirroring, preschool
Does this sound familiar to you? You’re breastfeeding your 8 week old when your 2 1/2 year old screams for help from the bathroom. Of course, without thinking twice, you run to the bathroom with your boob hanging out (passing all the open blinds on your windows, and giving your mailman a treat) with your baby, uh, still latched on. You get to the bathroom only to find that your toddler has smeared poop across the toilet seat as she tried to shimmy off of it.
Or, maybe this scenario? You’re breastfeeding your baby (because really, that’s all you ever do) when your toddler jumps at your face and begs you to play blocks with her. She asks relentlessly until you’re forced to slither off the couch with….you guessed it, your baby attached to your breast and you build a Lego tower (aka, “Fairy House”) with one hand.
Or, maybe you’ve experienced this one before? You finally cave under the incessant begging of your toddler for a piggyback ride. You awkwardly kneel to the ground, because of course, you’re holding your nursing baby against your chest with one arm, and you use the other arm to hoist your toddler onto your tired back. You find yourself neighing and galloping – sending ripples of disdain through your muffin top.
If you can relate, then you’ll totally appreciate DJ’s latest game, which happens to be the best game ever. It’s the “Nap Game.” At any given time of the day, DJ will insist that I take a nap. It’s awesome.
She’ll enthusiastically lead me into her room and make me lay down in her bed, ensuring my head is resting on a fluffed pillow. Once I’m all tucked in, she will “read” me a book, then close her blackout shades, turn on her white noise machine, and tell me to “sleep all night, I be so proud of you.” And then, get this, she walks out of her room, shutting the door behind her.
Then, I close my eyes. Breathe. Enjoy. Breastfeed Z quietly, without interruption. Every few minutes, I’ll call out something like, “Mommy, I’m scared,” or “Mommy, I want to sleep in your bed,” partially because I feel obligated to engage with her in this fabulous game, but mostly because I want to ensure she’s not smearing poop across our toilet seat.
Aside from the fleeting reprieve that this game gives me (which, have I mentioned, is awesome?), I have to admit that I find the whole role-playing thing pretty entertaining….and terrifying. DJ is absolutely absorbing our every word, and she’s carefully matching them with accompanying actions. Not only do we have to be careful with what we say and do, but how we say and do them.
The other night, DJ put my husband in a timeout for not listening to her. I’m pleased to say that she did it sternly, but lovingly. She explained what he did wrong, set a timer for a few minutes and then encouraged him to offer her an apology in order to be dismissed from timeout. While we giggled behind her back after the whole episode, we also recognized the gravity of this particular developmental stage.
DJ is learning how to treat others by the way we treat her. She is accepting that what we say and do is, indeed, just how it’s done. This means that she’ll be taking her lessons from home to her school, her grandparent’s house, and eventually her friends’ houses. Seeing her pretend to be us keeps us accountable to respectful and appropriate actions and behaviors. In other words, she’s kind of airing our dirty laundry by mimicking us – which means, we had better clean it up!
It’s no wonder why she’s started breastfeeding her dolls, right?