The other morning, I called Dave to check in on him and Brooklyn. He told me that they were in Brooklyn's room playing "Conan O'Oinken," in which Brooklyn's stuffed pig is a talk show host. Her bear and sheep are talk show guests, her baby doll is the musical guest, and Brooklyn is in the studio audience. He does this kind of thing all the time. It cracks me up, because seriously, my husband has the imagination of a little kid and I know he just has a ball having a child to share it with.
Where the hell did my imagination go? I was thinking about this when Brooklyn and I were on a walk last night. I would never dream up Conan O'Oinken, and my hubby just comes up with stuff like this off the top of his head.
I can sing songs to my baby, read to her, show her toys. I can talk to her about what we are doing ("Oh look, I'm brushing my teeth. This is how we keep away those bad cavities! You don't have any teeth yet though, do you?" or "Did you hear that doggy barking? He sounds like a big doggy!") or I can tell her how much I love her. Things like that. But other than that...I'm kind of at a loss sometimes. I think it is my nature to edit myself so much that I have a hard time just being silly or childlike. I don't want to say anything stupid.
I think I have forgotten how to use my imagination. How to just think things up and not worry about what anyone else would think. I just can't let go and relax like that.
Especially in this situation...my baby isn't going to think I'm silly or dumb. I know this. Thinking the way that I do just becomes such a habit, I guess. I've gotten too grown up. I take myself too seriously. I wonder how exactly this happens. I mean, was it a gradual process, or did it happen overnight? And why did I lose this ability when my husband still has it? Do some of us just spend so much time filling our heads with worries and adult nonsense that our playfulness just fades away without us noticing?
I don't know how to make up stories to tell Brooklyn. Dave did it before she was even born. He would ride around on patrol and record himself on his digital recorder just talking to Brooklyn about anything and everything. He would tell her the story of us, he would ramble on about what he had done at work that day, he would talk about her future and what he wanted for her. He would make up these creative stories. Then we would put headphones on my belly and play his recordings for Brooklyn. I wanted her to know his voice. And she did. She would kick, kick, kick away when the recordings ended, like "I want to hear more!" I would feel her kicks, look at the recorder, and without fail, the segment would have just finished playing. I wasn't allowed to listen to the recordings, Dave said. They were just for Brooklyn.
Anyway...all that to say, I never could have just talked on and on like that with no one to answer me! I wouldn't have a clue what to say. And I don't know how to just play anymore. I have to really think hard about little games and ways to show Brooklyn her toys. I really envy my husband's abilities in this area.
I feel like a bad mom sometimes for not knowing how to do these things. I feel like people would think that I don't care enough about her to spend time playing with her or talking to her enough. I feel like I'm not doing enough, and I know that play is so important for babies. It seems as though I can't do something that probably comes naturally to most other parents. I don't really know what to do about it though. I wish it wasn't a struggle for me because it should be simple.
I hope I grow with my daughter and learn how to do all of this as she gets a little older and learns how to play. I hope my imagination redevelops as she discovers hers. I hope we can learn together.