So, I read a blog post back in August that has been stewing in my mind every since. I am not going to link to the blog post because I don't want the author to think that I am completely slamming her (that is not my intention.) But I just can't keep still about it either.
The author of the infamous post was answering the question, "how are you able to get some much work done on your house?" (I.e. painting walls, refinishing floors, reupholstering furniture, etc.) She lists a number of things: no watching television, having a lot of the materials on hand, etc., but then she says, "I do not play with my kids. I am not a floor sitter." And if that was it, I probably wouldn't be writing this. The comments, however, were full of people chiming in saying, "Yes! This is me too! I believe in helping kids be self-reliant and play independently!" And then I got all bitter.
The truth of the matter is this: I am a "floor sitter." Do I want to be a floor sitter? Not necessarily, although I don't mind playing with my son. Do I want my child to play independently? Yes. But I have no choice in the matter!
Sometimes I feel like parents give themselves too much credit for their child's behavior: "I taught them to be independent because I didn't give in to their every whim to play." When in fact, I think the child's temperament accepted the parent's initiation of independence. There is a huge difference between the two. (Let's just be honest here. The child is almost always in control.)
Finn is very.......attached. This is his personality and temperament. Trying to get anything done that does not involve playing with him is........difficult, if not absolutely impossible. For example, I attempted to sew pillowcases for Mr. F.'s non-standard size pillow. This took months. Finn would allow me to pin or sew one seam a day then he would start grabbing, crying, sobbing, etc. You could only put him off for so long before he would get genuinely distressed. This wasn't just throwing a fit because you didn't get your way. I can ignore that. No, this was, "why have you abandoned me!? why don't you love me anymore."
Now perhaps that difference is that my son is younger and he is so far the only child. This is a significant distinction (the author of the post had two children, one of which was preschool age). Maybe when I am at the stage she is, I will too be able to state that my kids entertain themselves while I work on other things. (Oh please! Let this be the case!) But more and more I am convinced that I, as a parent, have very little control over any given situation. A square peg will not fit into a round hole no matter how hard I may push.
I think it would more realistic to say that, "my child requests my presence on the floor." And so I oblige.