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Play Time Ahead!

I'm worried about the summer. I won't be working for most of July and August and I'm looking forward to spending my days gardening, enjoying sunshine, fresh air and time with Caroline. What concerns me is what we'll do together. I'm not necessarily the advocate for scheduling every minute of my child's day. I have a new-mom friend who recently commented to me that she felt guilty for not offering educational activities to her child such as reading. The baby is less than a month old! A full breast and a clean diaper was about as stimulating as life got for my girl at that age.

I'm concerned because her daycare offers a warm, safe environment with continuous activities from playing outside to dancing, circle time and finger painting. A change from her day life, her activities at home include following Dingo around, pulling the cats' tails, shutting herself into rooms and vigorously attempting to get into all things out of reach. I've noticed that when Andy or I are busy talking to each other or one the phone, watching the news or doing chores, Caroline gets whiny and rambunctious. She is quite aware of her surroundings and her attention span has expanded, allowing her to actually play.

And play, I can not wait to do. Life as an adult can get pretty uncreative but a good childhood is full of creativity and imagination. We have started to color, which mostly involves pulling all the crayons out and throwing them on the floor. We also play peek-a-boo and a mini version of hide-and-seek (she hides behind my back and I say, "Where's Caroline?" She pops around my shoulder and screams and giggles when I looked shocked) . When we go for walks and the wind blows warmly on our cheeks, I tell her that the faeries are fluttering their wings. I can't wait to play dress up and house. I can't wait to introduce her to Disney movies and read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to her. To discover Harry Potter, the Babysitters Club, ballet lessons, gymnastics and bike riding. Or, it could be soccer, hunting, Girl Scouts and Lord of the Rings. She may not like what I did as a little girl but I know we will imagine together I will be taken far away from bills and work and chores.

I may not schedule play dates every day. I may not have pre-cut crafts for activity time or Italian-for-baby CDs. I will pretend boxes are mountains to climb, crayons are magic wands and buckets are helmets to wear into battle against the army of kitties. Anything to keep her from licking the computer plugs and making long distance phone calls!

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