Wednesday, July 25, 2007


I felt like I let Iris down during vacation week last week. We didn't make it out of the house much due to my illness. Oddly, she didn't miss the elevating and educational outings that I had fantasized about. Instead, she made up fantasy games for herself at home. She had a great time, playing at home.

This week, Mark was away on travel and Iris' nanny, M, came over each evening to help. I came home from work yesterday evening, dead tired and very hungry. I watched the two of them engage in very energetic imaginary games of Iris' devising.

At one point, they turned the ottoman into a boat and made paddles out of Tinker Toys. Iris sat on the right side, M on the left. Iris spotted a waterfall and yelled, "Go to the left!". M started to paddle double time. Iris said, "No. No. When we turn to the left, you need to stop paddling and I need to paddle more."

M replied, as startled as I was by the realism in Iris' play, "That's right, I should know that; I am even a kayaker."

Later, when Iris said that they needed to turn right, Iris stopped paddling.

Now I get to the real point of the post.

Then I read the CS Monitor piece about the importance of child's play. Unstructured, self-initiated play has become a rarity in the lives of many American kids.

Mark and I feel strongly that we want Iris to have as much "goof-off" time in her childhood as we had. Well, Iris got plenty last week and now I don't have to apologize when I explain what we did or didn't do last week. I can just tell people to read the article!

I am a little bit embarrassed that the kids at the Waldorf school in the article pretended to throw a dinner party at a private home. My kid and her playmates play restaurant. I really have to cook more for friends. We used to do that almost every weekend as grad students and postdocs. What happened? How did restaurants become our dining room?

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