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After Christmas “Play” Is Definitely the Thing

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Everyone knows the line from the song “It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas” that goes “And Mom and Dad can hardly wait for school to start again.” Truthfully, since I became a parent, I have always taken exception to that line. For me being home with the kids is just about the best Christmas present ever. With the bad weather we have been having here in New York, it has also given us a time to really get to do one thing I never do in the real world of work: play! I am enjoying every minute of it.

We adults just do not get enough time to play. Walk into any Pre-K classroom and you will see the kids getting some work done, but then they get to have playtime and that develops different (and sometimes more essential) skills such as sharing, creating, and building. Pre-K kids also take a nice nap midway through their day, and that’s another thing we skip because we are just too busy.

Getting back to playing, I have been doing so much of it. Santa was very good to my children, and I am reaping the rewards of his generosity. My daughter’s American Girl doll (McKenna) is a gymnast by trade; therefore, I have seen every outfit imaginable that this active little girl could wear. I have also put on and taken off her cast seemingly a hundred times. Apparently, even dolls can break an ankle in gymnastics.

My son has gotten toys I could only imagine as a boy. The first thing he got was a cowboy town by Playmobil that includes a Bank and a Sheriff’s Office. The details are fantastic on these toys, and the characters come with revolvers, rifles, a safe with money, and a jail cell (with a locking door). We have had so many shootouts, bank robberies, and escapes from jail (the wall breaks away to let prisoners escape) that allow the game to start over again and again. What a great toy!

The next thing Santa must have had a hard time getting. My son likes the Nick Jr. show Mike the Knight, and he put it on his list that he wanted the castle and characters. I exhausted a search in toy stores here, but I hoped Santa would find it (apparently he went all the way to the U.K. to acquire it). Two sets came (the castle and a Viking adventure) that my son and I have enjoyed playing with. Mike comes with a horse and two friendly dragons that help him save the day against the mean Viking warrior. We have been saving the day a lot lately.

Another amazing toy is the Bat Cave from Fisher Price’s Imaginext line. The details on this toy are amazing. When I was a kid I could never have dreamed of having a Bat Cave like this. It has a working elevator, a cannon, rotating motorcycle bay, a jail cell, and many other features. Santa really knows how to pick a winner. I can’t tell you how many times Batman and Robin have beaten the bad guys up, thrown them in jail, and then gone to the Krusty Krab (part of another great play set) to have a Krabby Patty after a busy day of crime fighting. The only bad part is the bad guys always escape while Batman and Robin are visiting SpongeBob and friends. When will they ever learn?

I could go on and on, but isn’t that the whole point? In these days after Christmas, playing is definitely one of the best things about my time off with the kids. Since my son is in preschool, he gets the bulk of the playing time because my daughter (in middle school) wants to also explore her new iPod and use the computer, but her new Wii games do provide an opportunity for the three of us to interact and play together, as do new Furbys who are much, much more evolved since the old ones hit the scene. These Furbys never stop interacting, and during the night one of them sometimes says something in Furbish (the Furby language) and gets the other one going. Oh, and there is no way to turn a Furby off. Thanks so much, Santa!

Overall, these days off with the kids provide us with hours of entertainment and enjoyment of discovering new toys. We are exploring new worlds of Vikings, cowboys, superheroes, undersea friends, an outstanding gymnast, and alien creatures (I’m pretty sure a Furby is not of this world). I am having so much fun I feel almost guilty, but then I realize that is the whole point of playing.

We adults who work so hard should definitely take the time to really play. If you don’t have kids, this could extend in all different directions. Find a hobby. A good friend of mine builds excruciatingly detailed models of the Titanic, the Empire State Building, and spaceships from Star Trek. Perhaps you like to sing, so get thee to a Karaoke club. Like to draw or paint? Take a class or just get out to the park and start your masterpiece. You can also get into sports. I know people who love to loose themselves on the golf course; if that’s not just like kids playing, I don’t know what is.

These days are going too fast. Soon I will be back to work and I will miss the time I have with the kids. In the real world there is always homework in the evening and early bedtimes, but we can sneak in a little playing here and there until the weekend comes. I will look back fondly on these days as will my kids, and the most important thing we are doing is building memories that will last a lifetime.

Now, I must get back to more important things. Batman and Robin just left the Krusty Krab, jumped in the Batmobile, and are making their way back to the Bat Cave. Bane has just released the Joker, Penguin, Riddler, and Two-Face from jail and my son and I have work to do.

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About Victor Lana

Victor Lana has published numerous stories, articles, and poems in literary magazines and online. His books In a Dark Time (1994), A Death in Prague (2002), Move (2003), The Savage Quiet September Sun: A Collection of 9/11 Stories (2005) and Like a Passing Shadow (2009) are available online and as e-books. He has won the National Arts Club Award for Poetry, but has concentrated mostly on fiction and non-fiction prose in recent years. He has worked as faculty advisor to school literary magazines and enjoys the creative process as a writer, editor, and collaborator. He has been with Blogcritics since July 2005, has edited many articles, was co-head sports editor with Charley Doherty, and now is a Culture and Society editor. He views Blogcritics as one of most exciting, fresh, and meaningful opportunities in his writing life.