One of the strange things about children is that they are real people.
I know it sounds obvious but bear with me.
They start off so totally dependent on you, with such limited methods of communication, that you spend quite a bit of time interpreting them and providing them with a voice that is not their own. “Oh, he’s just tired.” “Look, he looks so grumpy in that top, he obviously doesn’t like it.” “Oswald just adores Beethoven, don’t you Oswald?” I am totally guilty as charged, just read the Life Game posts.
It actually becomes a life long task for a parent to learn to accept your children as independent individuals with thoughts and ideas of their own.
When I started our summer of fun stuff, I had imagined myself in the role of Fun Bringer and Haver of Great Ideas. I filled our box with activities that I had come up with while the kids were asleep, hoping to surprise and delight them.
Instead, over the past two weeks, they have been surprising and delighting me. We have done about 7 or 8 cards since my last post, but our days have been full of fun and good ideas. Their good ideas. In fact, I found myself starting to write them down. And then making new cards, for next year, with the great games they came up with this summer.
There was the puppet show.
It came out of nowhere. One minute we were in the car, driving back from a boring supermarket trip. The next they were shouting: “Let’s have a puppet show!” And we were digging up the finger puppets and making a rudimentary theatre (a box lid on a kid’s chair with a quilt draped over it, in case you want to replicate our success), followed by a retelling of Goldilocks and the three bears using a princess, a tiger, an elephant and a lamb.
There was a plane outside, then a plane indoors. The pilot was a massive cuddly koala bear and the destination was, as always, Nediland (The Netherlands).
There were concerts of beautifully ambitious piano concertos, composed on the spot by one child and interrupted by the other. Then they would swap over.
There was Numberland. The floor was absolutely covered in numbers of all shapes and sizes and materials. It was a little traumatic for Mummy and Daddy, who tidied it all away as soon as the Boy was in bed.
There were many board games, which the Girl now understood enough to actually be a plausible participant in.
This just scratches the surface. Children have an amazing imagination. They are totally independent, totally new people, never seen before and utterly unique. Who was I to think they needed my ideas to have a great summer? Thank goodness I have them here, to brighten mine.
If you want to follow our summer Play-Along in greater detail, come and join me on Facebook, where I report on our activities as they happen.