Today is the first day of my daughter’s spring break. For me, that means leaving behind my day job full of writing, editing, meetings, meetings and more meetings. We won’t be heading to a white sandy beach. We won’t be skiing down the Rockies. No, I’ll be plunging full-force, full-time into somewhere far more exotic: my daughter’s imagination.
It is a bit like walking through the wardrobe in C.S. Lewis’s fantasy world, except that it is far more fantastical and much more complex. I may be called upon to be an owl harassed by other mean owls, a winged horse that turns into a fairy or a small puppy that is lost and likely has a broken leg. (All of her animals are sick and broken—I blame our geriatric cat). I may play these roles over the course of the week or within one hour from her waking.
During an extended vacation together, I often wonder, as I “gallop” across the house or “swim” across the rug, how stay-at-home parents do this job every day. My office life has its own ups and downs, but at least no one (usually) is telling me I’ve said lines wrong.
I’m sure the key is having a plan that includes fun activities. My daughter does enjoy drawing and playing games (the easy stuff), but hands down her favorite game is “pretend”—and she could do it for eight hours straight. Also from the moment she wakes to the moment she goes back to bed, my daughter will be talking.
I’m quite certain she could be a successful government interrogator. She could crack anyone.
Five-year-olds, at least mine, are intense.
Don’t get me wrong, my daughter’s inner world is magical and wonderful and it never ceases to amaze me. I feel fortunate that I have the flexibility that allows me to spend an entire week playing with my child. I’m thrilled to have a week off from my day job. But I also must prepare myself for the nonstop talking, nonstop action. Come next Monday, I will be exhausted.
Which is why, I’m so very glad I slept well last night. Now it’s time to pour another pot of coffee. I hear stirring coming from the bedroom. It's time to get into character.
More from parenting