Play

When I first started putting Micah in timeouts, I felt sheepish. I could actually hear my Korean ancestors laughing from their knolly graves.

I’m trying to learn what kind of parents we are. Sift through the noise and parenting junk emails overflowing in my inbox. So many loaded terms. Attachment parenting (you mean what the rest of the world does)? Waldorf schools? Montessori? Charter schools? Homeschooling? Unschooling?

Sometimes, the labels just make things more intimidating and confusing than necessary. I have almost always followed the rules (except at movie theaters) but I do have an unnecessarily rebellious side, too. If someone too hungrily wants to know all my business while remaining private about their mess, I don’t want to tell them anything and have even privatized my Facebook page to a couple acquaintances. (Or if I am Facebook-friended too prematurely. Yes, this dates me as young kids these days friend anyone and everyone). But if someone couldn’t care less about my life, I want to reveal all. In detail.

I still refuse to call Manhattan “The City.” It ain’t the only one.

Before I became a mama, I didn’t want to “schedule playdates” for my future children because it sounded too yuppie and ridiculous for my little babies. (I’ve since matured and realized there is no getting around that one.) But words mean a lot to me.

So while I am still trying to figure out where I fit in as a parent, which philosophies I adhere to, all I know is that today, in this perfectly breezy 75 degree weather, my boys and I had so much fun literally rolling around in the grass with kids from the neighborhood. At first, Micah looked at me like I was actin’ a damn fool but once I got into it, he cautiously started rolling with me and other playmates.

Then we played treetag with Micah’s cheeks shaking as he ran, no longer a baby but not yet a boy, first wide-eyed and tentative, then with delight. Even little Ellis got in on the action, playing in the grass and rolling about. We even built houses with twigs (I hear this is called “fairy house” – more new lingo.)

Does my closet hippie make me a follower of Waldorf pedagogy? YO, I dunno! I just think kids should play outdoors as much as possible. Good for their health and souls. Found a blade of grass in my baby’s diaper from our outdoorsy play. It was a good, no, GREAT day.

Thanks to my kids, I have bonus childhoods to enjoy at my age. Memories of my own childhood flood me as I play with them. Handball with the neighborhood kids behind our yellow apartment building in Koreatown LA, until it was night. Rollerskating down too-steep apartment driveways with no helmets or kneepads while my parents worked long and hard in their store, to pay for our piano lessons and future SAT classes. Digging for buried treasure with my little brother with my dad’s finest silver spoon next to graffiti’d walls. Devouring book after book at the public library until my parents closed up shop and came to pick us up after the sun set so late in the summers.

[Speaking of outdoors, Happy Birthday to Henry David Thoreau:

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”]

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