“The Power of Play”

as so beautifully said by sister Barb when I relayed the story…

A couple nights ago when I was doing my part of the new night-night routine (reading stories from my post in bed) my daughter and I decided to make a bandage for one of her doll’s legs. The bandage on my leg is fairly large and my daughter has been told to stay clear of it. A bandage on her doll’s leg would be ok for her to touch and manipulate as she wants. With my husband’s help, we gathered some cotton balls, paper towels and tape.

Little one was so enraptured by what we were doing that she made not a peep.  There was no wailing for “more tape” or “let me do it” or “it’s mine”, just sheer awe of what we were creating.  Her mouth hung open the entire time.  She carefully carried “big baby” back to her room and made a new bed for her.  My husband said that she pulled out “little baby” and placed her alongside – much like the two of us when together in my bed.

My daughter has been through quite a bit in the last 4 weeks.  We stopped nursing, her 2 year molars erupted, she decided she would not sleep in her crib anymore, became afraid of the dark, and came down with a virus.  This was all while we were preparing for my surgery. Post surgery I think she is doing beautifully.  She has attentive family and caregivers around to let her process as she needs to.  There is daily “Dr.” play with all of her stuffed friends.  She takes their temperatures, gives them shots and asks them to take deep breaths while her toy stethoscope dangles from her ears.  Deep breaths indeed.

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5 Comments on ““The Power of Play””

  1. Jane says:

    So dear. All of you. The pictures are totally charming, B.
    Love, Mom

  2. barbara says:

    oh my lord, i am weak in the writing arms here……i think that picture of becc’s leg beside dolly with her wrapped leg, her MUCH wrapped leg, is one of the most profound images i have ever seen. how blessed it that sweet soul to have a mama and a papa who honor her truly tangled world view right now, and who so gently and patiently (yes, i know it doesn’t feel so patient at 2 in the morning when you are at wit’s END!!!!) are allowing her to work it through. who understand that for all purposes, mama IS the north star, and when that star has been knocked askew, wrapped in acres of gauze and tape, for heaven’s sake, a little girl has EVERY right to be confused and scared and demanding that this picture right itself. and not a second too soon, thank you!
    i have spent much time considering play, considering the essential souls of little people, and while i can’t put my finger on the precise quotes at this moment, the core of early childhood is the belief that play is the practicing of life truths, it is the working out of drama, the lines of which are known only to a child’s inner soul.
    it is SO powerful that the first thing ella did once her big baby was in bed was that she nestled LITTLE baby right along side. didn’t skip a beat. she was saying that that is all she wants. to be nestled right alongside her mama. little baby wants to protect big baby, and be protected. all at once. by playing it out with dolls, she was able to create the storyline AS SHE WANTED IT. she is narrator, and director of her play.
    that makes me wonder, is it any wonder that we go to the theatre to see “plays”? are they not the original child’s drama, unfolding on the public stage?

    keep playing ella, beautiful. you have a rapt audience here.
    and your mama, by the way, is a beautiful writer. deep breaths, indeed…..

  3. papa d says:

    not only did E want to get “little baby” together with “big baby” but, just as mama’s leg has to stay in a foam cradle, she wanted her foam changing pad put on the floor. she then laid both baby dolls on the foam pad.

  4. Annamarie Behring says:

    This is a great story! Thanks for sharing. ~Annamarie

  5. Michael says:

    It’s all very powerful. I’m deeply moved. The whole business of the telling and retelling of stories to bring order and peace to the land (in our hearts). Little Ella just captivates me. Makes me pause and consider what it’s all about, and the world looks all anew as I see it again for the first time through her eyes.

    About 6 months ago, my teaching started going through another revolution as it began to dawn on me the immense power of 2 things in this life that EVERYONE loves and longs for– stories, and games. It’s all about PLAY, eternal and endless, being nestled in the moment, in the game, or in the story…Both the story and the game have a structure of some sort, and then all the spontaneity within that.

    It’s an enormous, simple C major chord that you strike, reverberating here at 4:30 AM in the pre-dawn quiet.

    Thank you. xox


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