Child’s play

We are never more fully alive, more completely ourselves, or more deeply engrossed in anything than when we are playing
- Charles Schaefer

It has been quite some time since I have written anything on my website due to a variety of reasons. One of those reasons being that I fell pregnant and gave birth to the most precious little girl, Noa. During the build-up to her arrival, and then since the birth of Noa, there is one common topic that always seems to be on my mind – play.

Being passionate about play and having it as my choice of career; in addition to now being a mom; I have once again been re-united with the power of play. When we play, we learn and when we learn we grow. But play is more than that. Play is: carefree, spontaneous, fun, exciting and a life-saviour. Life saviour you say? Let me explain: I recall one very scary moment: Noa was only a few days old when I found myself all alone – no husband, no mom, no friends. This mammoth wave of terror came upon me – I have to care for this fragile newborn all by myself, she is totally dependent on me and I cannot fail her. Not sure if I should cry, shout out for help or close my eyes and wish it all away, OR maybe… maybe I should do what I know best? The one thing that I know I can do, and do well, is: PLAY!

And play is what I did. While Noa slumbered, like a baby, in her Moses cot, I chose to play. I took her two teddy’s – which I named Whitey and Brownie in my moment of panic – and I put on a spectacular puppet show. My two new fluffy friends were the stars and I was the master of the plot. It was a showcase of all my talents, and for those few minutes of play I lost myself and forgot to be scared. I submerged myself in the fantasy of the show and created a whole new world. And I never stopped…

Noa is almost 6 months and every single day we play. We play peak-a-boo when I change her nappy, we dance to music on the radio while I button-up her dresses, we play mess-mess when she eats her solids and we clap hands when she accomplishes something- actually anything. When she experiences new people or unfamiliar noises we sing the comforting tune of, “Doo-doo Sharkie, doo-doo Sharkie.” We have the adventure of guiding these little souls into beautiful humans. It is almost always scary, and I feel the wave of terror coming over me often, but when I want to cry, I say, “What would Pooh do?”

But we do not always get that Oscar, we don’t get the distinctions or Hollywood pay-checks at the end of the day. Our joy comes from a little giggle or a deep stare into your eyes that says, “I see you Mommy!” To connect with our child we need to play with our child. When in doubt, when scared, when petrified… choose to play.

So if you have to pretend you are Aladin, even Sarabi from The Lion King, be the protector over your child with a sprinkle of imagination, and don’t you dare close your eyes.

Jodi Lord

Play Therapist

 

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