“You love your laptop more than me,” my son blurted out. Looking up from my laptop, I protested, “What are you talking about?” Reaching for my laptop cover to close it, he pleaded “put it down and pay attention to me.” Quickly saving my work, I closed my laptop and put it down. “You have my attention,” I said smiling at him.
“You use to play with me all the time, but lately you’re always on the laptop,” he continued. “Mommy, mommy play with me. I want you to spend time with me.”
Because I was concerned that he was so upset, I wanted to figure out how to fix this problem. I ran through my day in my head; get up, make breakfast for my son, make his lunch, get him ready for school, get him on the bus, work all day, get him after school, provide snacks for him and his friends, make him supper, make him eat his vegetables, fight with him over homework, get him to do his homework, make him wash up, put him to bed, do a load of clothes that he needs for the morning, clean the kitchen, finish work for my job and fall into bed.
After listing my day in my head, I realized he was right we don’t play much anymore. “First it is important for me that you understand that I love you more than anything in the world,” I started. “Yes, even more than my laptop.” He looked at me skeptically. “We have more to do today with your homework and play dates. We don’t have as much time to play. But, we will find time to play. Let me think for a minute.”
On a mission to find ways to play, I started thinking back to how I played with my brothers at this age. Memories of my Malibu Barbie and Ken driving in their convertible in my backyard flashed in my mind. It was a beautiful day and the wind was in their hair. Suddenly, dirt bombs were flying through the air at them, I screamed, “nooooooo!” Grabbing their picnic blanket, I leaped to cover them. Throwing any toys that I could find in the direction of the dirty bombs, I defended my friends.
Over the hill came G.I. Joe and his comrades lead by my brothers. “Die you COBRA scum!” my brother shouted, sending another a barrage of dirt bombs. There were too many bombs. I couldn’t stop them all. Barbie and Ken were gone. After defeating Barbie and Ken, my brothers turned their attention to the COBRA Command Center (Malibu beach house). Taking an axe from the basement, they began chopping my dream house. “We defeated COBRA!” my brother yelled. “Yeah! They’re all dead.”
“Mommy, what are you thinking about?” my son asked touching my shoulder. Snapping back to today, I said, “Umh, Why don’t we play catch. Get your ball!” Within a few minutes, he was smiling and laughing again. Mission accomplished.