“Mama, will you play on the train with me?” my daughter asked, lining up the dining chairs to form a line of seats.
“Sure! Where’s my seat on the train?” I responded, thinking we were about to engage in some good, old-fashioned pretend play together. This is what childhood is supposed to be all about, right?
“You can sit riiiight here!” she responded, “Just give me your ticket first!” I found a scrap of paper and folded it into a makeshift ticket. “Here you go!“
We enjoyed a couple more minutes of happily playing before things started to head south.
“All abooooooard!” I announced, getting into the game. “NOOOOOO! I’M supposed to say that.“
I got up from the train. “NOOOOOO! The train is still moving!“
I got back on board and gave her another ticket. “NOOOOOO! You already GAVE me a ticket.“
This wasn’t exactly what I had in mind for us playing together. It probably wasn’t what my daughter had in mind either. I wanted to me the type of mom who enjoyed playing with her kids. Who had fun with them. Was I not cut out for this?
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