Tonight the little boys wanted to play “puppies”. I was tired after a long day of teaching school, followed by helping out at the party for my husband’s office. A stack of dishes from the party waited in my sink….and I wanted to just tell the boys, “Mommy is busy.” How many times a day do they hear those words?
The truth is, I would often rather do my work (crossing things off my to-do list as I go along!) than take time out to play. And when I do play, I much prefer games that have a set list of rules and a specific ending point. But I know it is so good for them, so mommy sighed, “Coming, darling…let’s play puppies!”
Little did I know how much fun it would be….or how simple! All that was required was to bark and pant occasionally, and to lap water from little bowls. About half the time was spent pretending to puppy sleep, the very thing I was dying to do anyway! At one point we did crawl to the kitchen for some puppy mini-muffins…I was able to spot and scoop up several crumbs of food on the floor along the way, so mommy-puppy felt very industrious indeed.
Two of the boys had been fighting earlier in the day. But when our older son saw how much fun his younger brothers were having as they played puppies with mommy, he was game to join right in. The boys played so sweetly together and had so much fun.
I was thinking about why things went so well tonight when there has been more friction between them lately. I think one key is that I was THERE. I was not in the other room calling, “You two need to get along!”
When children don’t get along, it can be a sign that they have been left to themselves too much and need more interaction with mom and dad. I’m looking forward to spending more time playing puppies!
For more practical tips and encouragement click here to listen to my podcast Cultivating Sibling Loyalty.