After dinner last night, my lovely and adventurous daughter was taken out of her high chair. She proceeded to crawl around under the kitchen table, weaving in and out of the chair legs, climbing around like a mongoose in search of prey. After a few minutes of this, we stopped hearing noises and I looked down to discover her laying on her back under the table, reaching for the underside and watching her hands play across the wood. She was lazily kicking her legs about and generally being a little kid in the throws of her imagination.
I decided this would be a perfect time for me to reclaim a bit of my own lost childlike innocence and imagination, while at the same time, spending some quality time with my daughter. I, too, laid on the floor under the kitchen table. Sara continued to enjoy her dinner as Harper and I chatted, reached for the underside of the table and imagined a world of dragons and wizards.
Those of you who have met my daughter may be aware that "stationary" is not a quality that could be often used to describe her. True to her nature, within a few minutes, she got tired of not moving. She began to crawl and climb again, poking her head out from under the jackets draped over the chairs, smiling cunningly at her mother, slipping back in and twisting and turning through the legs and supports of the chairs.
This was now, apparently, more fun than it was before because now there was something else under the table. Something that would tickle/bite her if she got too close. Something that would grab her ankle and drag her back if she got too far away.
Through all of this, I was reminded of two very important ideas. The first was that you should never be too old or too cool to play. I find myself saying and doing things that I couldn't even conceive of two years because I would have felt foolish. Before Harper, Sara helped me to let myself be silly again. With her, I've done so many things that can only be described as goofy. I owe her a deep debt of gratitude for that. Harper allows me to continue and get even more silly than I would before.
The second lesson came as Harper exited our make-shift jungle gym. She taught me to always be prepared for attacks to the internal organs. She decided to take the route out that required her to climb over me. As a foot went into my face, I thought "Well, this is the end of play time. She's leaving our cave." It was folly to take my mind off of the task at hand, as I soon learned with the aid of a miniature foot to the gut.
As Harper bounced from under the table, she stepped on my intestine and my lack of focus caused me to soil myself.
Just a little bit...
To make up for the image I just put into your head, here's a nicer one.