Creative Play

Great news! Agatha has shown up again! I know everyone was very worried. She appeared in the hallway one day and was absolutely filthy, so I suspect she spent a long weekend in the park. I was so happy to see her, and I have since explained to all concerned that she is to be left at home. It remains to be seen whether Edith will agree.

Edith is now at an age where she likes playing with more creative toys. We have markers now for drawing and blocks for building and play dough. I was looking forward to this, as I felt it might be less tedious than baby play, but now that we’re here, I’m feeling unequal to it. When I was younger, I used to consider myself a relatively creative person, but I’m realizing now that any imagination I once possessed has degraded past recalling. There is absolutely nothing in my head.

When Edith and I play with blocks, all I can think to do is build a tower. I know there are other things that you can do with blocks; I know people build structures. Edith’s nanny builds them. But when I am presented with a pile of blocks, I can no more think of how to manipulate them into an interesting shape than I could break down the properties of a single block into elements with my bare hands. “How about,” I say, “we stack them? Look, they can go so high!”

Edith then hands me a marker and invites me to draw and I draw a series of three-dimensional cubes. Maybe some stars. I try to think of something else to draw, and it is as if I have never encountered a noun before. I draw more cubes.

With play-dough, I make a ball and I make a worm. That’s it, that’s my repertoire.

And forget about inventing new games or activities or playing pretend. When Edith wants to be entertained, we just stare at each other. She hands me a doll to play pretend, and I hold the doll up and say, “I’m….a baby. I’m a baby.”

“Do you want to read a book again?” I say.

“You do not need to be told how to play with your own child,” parenting books reassure me. “It will come naturally! Or have your child help you with what you’re doing around the house.”

What am I doing around the house? Edith can’t help me with leadership development, she just types nonsense into Slack. She can’t help me with reading novels, either. And I don’t seem to do anything else. I’m not even creative with food; I just give Edith cashews over and over whenever she wants a snack. “How about some cashews?”

Good lord, what a dull lump of nothing I am; how does anyone stand me? At least Edith has other people in her life.


  1. Zandy says:

    Yeah, I think this is normal (or I am also a dull lump, these things aren’t mutually exclusive). I couldn’t remember a single nursery rhyme when the twins were little. I am terrible at “talking a toy” (the thing with the doll “I am a baby”). I’m excellent at blocks and playdoh. But really, kids don’t care. They care about what they’re doing. I just have Grant tell me what to say when he wants me to talk a toy with him. I’m an aid for his imagination, not telling him what or how to imagine. It’s still tedious, but if you are able to just play by yourself alongside Edith, you can have a bit of fun too. And then it’ll start getting funner still the older she gets.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Elizabeth says:

      Whew. This is helpful.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Elizabeth says:

      Also, I had the same problem with the nursery rhymes, but more have come back now that I’m getting actual sleep and also there are kids’ channels on Spotify. I think when you have a newborn, you just can’t remember your own name.

      Liked by 1 person

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