Responsible parenting and leadership are a start. In between reaching for the sky (Toy Story rocks).

Screw the darkness. I prefer the lightness of Pop.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Learning to parent the perfect game

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If everything came with a warning, would we lose our playful edge?

Don't tell that to Bryce. She'd nod aggressively and take off toddling right in the brambles of mystery and intrigue. She's all over the place, squawking and talking and climbing and falling.

All. Over. The. Place. Toddle, toddle, toddle, crash.

Even Bea, the elder who is usually is more tentative, has recently been feeling her independent oats, screeching off down the sidewalk in a catch-me-you-can cackle while we scream for her to stop, or wanting her gate down on her bed so she can get right up and scare the crap out of me, which will happen a lot more once she moves to the big-girl bed.

Bryce just turned one and Beatrice is about to turn three and start preschool, but unabashed exploration and play is such a huge part of their day.

I listened to a fascinating story recently from one of my favorite internet radio shows, Radiolab. The episode is titled Games and psychology professor Alison Gopnik explains the profound tension between play and rules. Somewhere between the ages of 3-6, once toddlers become children and start school, the free-wheeling liberalism of play becomes transformed into self-management by societal rules. Dr. Gopnik is also a big sports fan and says the perfect game in life is baseball, with its rules and structure disrupted by bursts of chaotic, free play.

Maybe. And maybe my girls will play the perfect game someday, but fast-forwarding is not my forte thankfully, because otherwise I'd be doing battle with two teenage girls, or attending college graduation, or walking them down the aisle, or holding my grandchildren, and God knows I'm not looking forward to that anytime soon.

Wait, who am I kidding? Of course I'm looking forward to every minute of chaotic, free play clashing with rules and warnings, living in the moment and learning to parent the perfect game.

Play ball.

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