My Cup Runneth Over

Posted by Big Daddy Paul in Malcolm Stories

Stay at home parenting is half motivational speaking, half party planning, and half running around like a chicken without its head. (It’s also half learning new math concepts!) Somewhere amongst this morass is actually spending meaningful time with your child, an activity that can easily get lost amongst the school days, sports practices, errands and play dates that generally populate a busy calendar.

It used to not be so easy filling the day. Early on, Malcolm used to enjoy a lot of fantasy play, meaning I would get sucked in playing school or spaceship or whatever insane scenario the boy would dream up. Once, I had to drive him around town in an ambulance to find the one hospital that had a lion Doctor. (You Richard Scarry fans know why.) The first time you engage in these silly games, you mostly have a good time. The tenth time you do, you want to rip your face off. On the hundredth version of the game, you want to rip your child’s face off, as well as that asshole Richard Scarry for creating such specific and quirky scenarios. During these early years, I am not ashamed to admit that I had a hard time filling the day with things that I actually enjoyed doing. It was a grind.

We put these bad boys together for dinner one night. Pretty cool.

Nowadays, it’s a different tune altogether. We have a multitude of activities that we both enjoy doing together. We play cards, we play board games, we play word games, we read stories, we write stories (he started a blog, I’ll get around to talking about it later this week,) we play sports, we cook, we eat and we occasionally perform medical experiments on the neighbor’s cat. It’s a veritable smorgasbord of fun and semi-legal activities for us to choose from each day.

The good thing about the large play list is that you need never get burned out on any one thing. Sure, Malcolm tends to cluster his preferences, but he has gotten pretty good at responding to, “Dude, we’ve done that the last three days!” with a decision to mix things up. If anything, though, the bountiful offerings of the smorgasbord makes the rotation too long, sometimes meaning weeks can pass between games of cribbage or Life. Granted, it beats playing pretend rocketship for four straight hours, but I think it will only be a matter of time before I tire of saying, “Malcolm, it’s your deal. Stop messing with the dead cat and come play.” At least, I hope so…

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