The truth is I don’t share Finny’s enthusiasm for choo-choos. I’m thrilled that he loves them and that they are entertaining to him, but I have slightly more enthusiasm for pushing a choo-choo around a track than I have for watching poker on TV with David. I can only pretend I’m interested for about a minute and a half before I start daydreaming about balancing my checkbook.
I feel the same way about sidewalk chalk and bubbles. The moment we pull into the driveway, my little companion in the backseat starts chanting, “Chalk! Bubbles! Chalk! Bubbles!” If I don’t have a trunk full of groceries or a stomach rumbling for lunch, I reluctantly oblige and then stand there bored as I watch Finny carry the bucket of chalk from here to there and occasionally draw a series of lines. With the bubbles, we basically turn on the bubble machine and shout “Bubbles!” with gusto as we watch them float away. Again, an activity that is only remotely engaging for about twenty seconds.
It’s not that I don’t like playing with my child, it’s just that well, if Finny and I could sit down and play Battleship from time to time, my mind might get a little more stimulation. Or even if we could create a story for the trains on the island of Sodor that involved Sir Topham Hat secretly investing in Rogaine and some kind of steamy affair between Emily and Gordon all under the watchful eyes of Diesel 10, well that might get my whistle wheeshing. But, as our game play stands right now, I’m not so into ripping the tracks off the table and running the choo-choos into the wall. Just doesn't do much for me.
But alas, before I complain for too long about the mundane task of playing with my one-and-a-half-year-old, I should mention that even though I prefer pulling weeds to playing with sidewalk chalk, when Finny looks up at me and demands, “Hand!” and then he grabs my hand in his little, soft baby fingers and pulls me to our next play station, there’s something so gratifyingly satisfying about that one tiny moment that ultimately I don’t mind throwing on my poker face and pretending for just a little while that “Bubbles!” out of the bubble machine are truly the most miraculous occurrence this side of I-71. Now if only we could get Glinda the Good Witch to float down in one with a game of Battleship tucked under her arm...well, a girl can dream.