Jacob is spending the night tonight, and oh boy, was he in high spirits. He wanted to get into everything. He'd pick up knitting needles and look at me to see my reaction. I said, "Not for Jacob." Then he'd try something else and watch my reaction. But he's good about amusing himself and played endlessly with the dollhouse in the playroom, the stick horse, the trike (which he can't quite master). Only occasoinally he'd settle onto the bed to watch his DVD. When I told him to get the stool so he could climb into his pack-and-play, he made no objection, but then with my back turned he crawled into it by himself. Almost fell, but I caught him. At least he can't get out of it unassisted--at least I don't think he can.
The evening made me think about the issue of playing with children. A recent Ann Landers column (okay, I read them in the morning paper) dealt with mothers who complained they were tired to death of "playing" with their children, much as they loved them. The two--playing and loving--aren't necessarily the same. I don't remember actually playing with my children a lot--for most of the time there were four and they played with each other. But I clearly remember one morning when Maddie (then about two and now almost ten) said, "Come on, Juju, play with me!" I was a bit at a loss. And I don't really play with Jacob, as in getting down on the floor and moving his trucks or the dollhouse people or whatever. But we've worked out a routine that is comfortable for both of us--I sit with a book, and he plays, and I sometimes tease him about what he's doing or talk about it, and he grins. He had a smelly diaper tonight and that became a great game--he hid behind the hobby horse and anywhere else he thought I couldn't get him, so I finally ignored him and he emerged. Diaper changed and pajamas on, but not without a struggle. When he announced he'd go home now, I said no, he was spending the night with Juju and his mommy and dada would come in the morning. He seemed quite philosophical about it.
Because I was watching Jacob, I let myself get distracted from my chores. Started a J. A. Jance novel I'd just ordred for my Kindle and now of course I'll spend the rest of the evening on it instead of reading my own second mystery, reading the proposed manuscript I brought home, finishing my taxes--all those chores that loom. I have a long weekend to do them--our office is closed Monday for Martin Luther King Day.