Saturday, April 9, 2016

Not Alone and Thankful

Times, they are a changing.
Kids, they are not.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to open our home to many of E1's friends for a big play date. There were 13 girls here, including E1 & E2.

At 7 years old, girls watch the preteen shows on Nickelodeon, play on the iPad, play video games, and talk like they're 12 years old with their "OMG" and "LOL" and a bunch of other crap that makes my skin crawl.

My daughter does not do any of this (at least not around me). She watched some of the shows on Nick and I deleted all of them within a month. We have one iPad for the house and it is the original iPad (no camera, etc). She has limited TV time, limited computer time, limited iPad time. What is unlimited is our playroom and outside and books.

Whenever E1 has a play date, I am cognoscente of the fact that our playroom still has dress-up clothes, a pretend kitchen, a barbie house, dolls, strollers, and a bunch of other "baby toys." We also have board games, legos, and other "older girl" toys. I know E1 can blame E2 if someone asks why she still has so many little kid things, but the truth is E1 still plays with all of it. She is only seven. Here and there a child will come over and snub the playroom and then the majority of the play date is spent outside because I explain I am not turning on the computer or iPad and I have no idea how to work our gaming system because my husband is the expert in that area. I die a little each time inside when this happens. Why do they have to grow up so fast and why am I the only one that thinks seven is just that, seven.

I am a parent at war with today's ever changing technology and until yesterday it seemed as if I was alone in this war.

Yesterday: 11 girls came over to play. The scene: Our playroom, our backyard, our street.

For three hours the girls played outside swinging, climbing, running, digging in the sand, jumping rope, riding bikes, kicking balls, doing gymnastics, catching lizards and frogs, and using their imagination.

For three hours the girls played in our playroom with every stroller, every doll, every dress-up outfit, the kitchen, the princess figurines, the fairies, the cribs, the barbies, and every other "baby" toy we owned. The elaborate pretend play must have been amazing because the 'mess' it created took an hour to clean up.

For three hours the mothers sat outside and chatted and periodically one of us checked to make sure no one was bleeding.

For three hours there was not one cry, not one whine, not one fight, not one ounce of drama.

Maybe it is the 'burbs.
Maybe I stumbled upon a unique group of mothers and daughters.
Maybe seven year old girls really do want to be seven, use their imagination, and just play.

I used to feel like I was setting up E1 & E2 up for some sort of technological failure. That their lack of computer and iPad skills would hinder them. I now know my girls will be more than fine and I know we are not alone in our quest for an old school childhood.

Their imagination and communication skills are far more important to develop at this age than swiping left.

I am so thankful for yesterday. It renewed my faith in preserving childhoods and it made me grateful for all the children and for their parents. 

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