“Play-Doht” – Lo’s mispronunciation of Play-Doh. The t is not silent. No, definitely not silent. Who knew after so much consideration on her birthday and holiday presents, after money spent, that through it all, Play-Doh would rise to the top of her favorite toy list?
I did not expect such a hit from my daughter who is driven by her imagination and thoroughly loves make believe. No, not at all. My two-year old tends to entertain herself well with passed down Barbies and plenty of baby dolls. She talks to herself as she lugs her doll through the house, with a diaper bag over her little shoulder and a bottle in her hand. But, mention the word Play-Doh and she drops her toys and stops in her tracks and runs to the dining room table. I have at least successfully taught her that the we only play with Play-Doh at the table.
Let me just state my stance, I despise Play-Doh. It is messy and crumbles and cakes into my dining room chairs and tile floors. It collects in the crevices of the toy tools and then my perfectionist self loses my own mind when the colors mix. I cannot stand when the colors mix. Ahhh! It is like torture.
I sat there beside my two-year old using the roller to flatten the hot pink doh and then using the star and heart cutters to make shapes. Lo smiled and giggled as I laid three star shapes in front of her. Then she reached for the yellow and with her tiny thumb released destruction upon my perfectly made star. “Hey, we don’t mix the colors, remember?” I asked her politely. Did I stress enough above at how much it pains me when colors mix? If you ever needed to get the truth out of me, just tie me down and make me watch you mix yellow and red and I will spill my guts.
Yesterday, though, when we played, I attempted a different approach.
As, Lo and I sat at the dining room table, laying out all our tools and sorting out all the Play-Doh colors, when she started to mix the colors, I took a big deep breath – and let her. Gasp! I know. We celebrate small victories here.
The perfectionist in me bit my tongue and fought ever urge in my body to wait for Lo to turn her back and peel the mixed Play-Doh colors apart before they formed. Instead, I sat there and refrained. I did not ask her to stop. I let her play with no boundaries.
And, guess what? When Pink meets Blue and Yellow the Brown, my daughter contently did not mind and while at the end of the session we developed four containers of a new color I dubbed Dirty River Water, Lo bounced off the chair and I cleaned it all up. As I closed the lids and gathered up the many tools, a voice in my head cheered me along, “See, Mom. It is not the end of the world. Playing is more fun when you mix the colors.”
Hmm, kind of like life I thought?
You see life is too short to color within the line and to not mix up the Play-Doh colors. When we live within our own little boundaries we hold ourselves back.
I hope my daughter takes chances and does not place stereotypical standards upon herself. I want her to breathe and live and break her own rules so that she can experience, truly experience life. I want her to live passionately. Thriving because she is motivated by contentment versus status, title, paycheck or possessions. I dream she grows up with incredible confidence and a sense of independence. My hope for my little girl is that when someone asks her to stay within their boundaries, that she pushes them by pushing herself. I want her to dip her toes in the sea, breathe in mountain air, connect with human beings and live – just live.
We have one trip around this sun and yet we spend so much time on this Earth living in fear, fighting our insecurities and worrying about others and unimportant things. We tend to do the opposite. Instead of “just live” we “just be.” Never really experience all there is to experience, we fail ourselves at taking chances or jumping at opportunities and we sway ourselves to go with the norm, never against.
It is still January, so I feel confident in challenging myself and challenging you this new year to take a little more chances in this life.
Funny how your perception can change and how life can reveal itself just by mixing the Play-Doh. Now if I can only convince Lo that Dirty River Water is a fun new color, when we return to the sealed containers to play.