The World is Her Playground
Zoe is a spoiled lot, but not in a bratty sort of way. I say spoiled because she’s been blessed with generous uncles, aunts, and grandparents who love her to a fault. I say that because they splurge her with the latest signature dresses any mother would want for her kid (RL, GAP, Old Navy, etc), get her the cutest toys, and buy her the best books. Not to mention the shoes. This early, her aunts are teaching her to be a shoe addict. I delight seeing all the stuff she gets and consider myself lucky that I don’t have to spend much on these things anymore, but sometimes seeing what she has just makes me cringe. I worry that Zoe won’t grow to appreciate what she has and would take everything given to her for granted. This young, I make it a point that Zoe knows what she has and what she’s getting. And I hope she does. Sometimes she even remembers who gave this or that. I make sure she appreciates the many blessings, big or small, that come her way. It delights me when I hear her say “Thanks!” even though I doubt if she grasps what it truly means. But then again, she’s only a kid, and kids don’t really care if what they’re wearing carries a designer label or if their toy is brand new or purchased from a yard sale. They just show you when they’re happy, and seeing the smile on their faces is enough to make your day. I know this because I see my daughter and know her joys.
One time I almost got carried away. I saw this cute little Winnie-the-Pooh tent that I was so sure Zoe would love. It costs more than a thousand bucks ($30, which is a lot of money here) and I was sooo tempted to buy it for her. I reasoned that I hardly get to buy her toys anyway since most of what she has are gifts, but my ever so practical husband talked me out of it. And it was a good thing he did because I got creative. I got myself an old balikbayan box and told Zoe it’s her own house. She was delighted! I got her crayons and watercolor paint and she doodled inside and outside the box. The following day, I cut out uneven squares on both sides and stapled cloths over it to serve as windows. Zoe loved it! She would stay there with her stufftoys and play without a care in the world. It didn’t matter that her box was a rundown balikbayan box ready to be thrown out as trash. To her, it was something special, a place where she can let her imagination go places.
At night, before we turn off the lights, Zoe would play with the blanket as a make-shift tent and pretend it’s her house. She would cover herself and call out to me and her dad to come inside and play. She would get creative, too. Showing us where the kitchen was, where the bedroom was, and where the bathroom was, all while the three of us are lying down squeezed in one blanket. Sometimes she would whip out dishes, chicken being her favorite, and would let us eat them. Really, with kids, everything and anything can be their playground. Just last night, she discovered, by accident, that a piece of paper, when thrust in front of the airconditioning vent, can fly somehow. And so she repeatedly threw this piece of paper up in the air as she jumped in bed. When I asked her what she was doing, she replied, “playing basketball.” Now don’t ask me why she ever thought of that. I myself am amazed at how her little mind works.
Sometimes I get tempted to send her to toddler schools because I know she will love it there, but then again, my erratic schedule and my budget could not allow me to do so. I worry (unreasonably so) that she may be missing out on something, but when I see her painting on a manila paper taped on our bedroom wall, putting her stufftoys to sleep with her bimpo as blanket, spreading her hands while dangling on the bed to be an airplane, or reading her books out loud, I am assured that she’s getting the best this world has to offer, for the world, indeed, is her playground. Nothing fancy, but everything priceless.