I Have Nothing in Common with my 5-year-old Son or Just Take a Shot

My son loves legos. LOVES legos.
He loves building cars. He loves Jake and the Neverland Pirates. He loves running through the house after our dogs. He loves Octonauts. He loves puzzles. He loves his mini farm.
He loves talking. Loudly. All the time. About everything he observes and thinks.

He has been begging me all week to “play with him”. Most days I can’t figure out what this means. I help him build things. We run around in the yard. We read books. We write things. We color. I’VE BUILT 12,000 LEGO CARS/TRUCKS/CITIES. But that’s not enough. He still wants me to PLAY.


You know why I don’t know what play means? Because we have nothing in common. His idea of playing is my idea of slow death by boredom and “this makes no sense.” I am so tired of hearing about legos and he couldn’t care less about Oprah, and so it’s hard to understand how to interact with each other without one of us being miserable. And it’s frustrating when your child is old enough to do things but you don’t share anything in common you want to do together.
So I told him yesterday morning that if he had a good day at school I would take him to putt-putt golf. Because putt-putt golf is a game. A game you PLAY. I hoped and prayed this would satiate his need to play because I don’t know what else he wants and I’m so tired of all his boring games.
He had a good day at school. AND SO! Putt-putt.
You’ve never heard a child more ecstatic about anything. It was like I told him that he was going to Disney World to live there for free for the rest of his life. We were only going to do one of the golf courses, but we did both. Why? Because his leaping and celebrating with every putt made this kind of play actually…enjoyable.

This isn't hole #7, but you get it.

This isn’t hole #7, but you get it.

At the hole #7 on the blue course, Abe was faced with three long, green alleyways through which he could aim his golf ball at the hole. I watched him stare at his options, taking practice swings along side of the ball to try making his decision easier. And then he said something that made me stop and think. He said, “Let me see which one I get.”
Now, I hate to turn everything my son says into some transcendent experience, but it’s what I do. I realized he wasn’t staring at the different paths his golf ball could take and saying, “I gotta aim for this one because it’s more likely to get my golf ball closer to the hole.” No, he was actually saying, “I’m going to take a shot and see where this goes.”
In short, he shot first and asked questions later.
There’s a point during life when that changes. You stop taking a shot to see what it might land you and you start calculating: If I take this shot, then this might happen. If I take this shot, then the other might happen. Which is the shot with the least chance of pain/disappointment/failure? That’s the one I’ll take!
But before that, we were actually gifted with a glorious “Let’s see!” attitude towards life. Yes, it gets Abe in trouble sometimes. “Let’s see what happens when I write on the dining room table with this pen.” (Mommy gets mad, that’s what you see.) You ever notice, though, that the “let’s see” attitude is only cool as an adult like, right before you go on a roller coaster ride?!
Abe had no fear of failing. No fear of getting bummed out. Not even a real concern for getting the ball near the hole. His entire focus was on hitting the ball and then finding out what happens.
And so, Bear and I are going to put in an offer on a house tomorrow. We’re offering significantly less than the seller is asking because of some awesome professional help we’ve gotten guiding us in the right direction. I’ve been avoiding taking real action on this house we love so well because…what if we fail? Get rejected? Wish forever that we would have gotten the house?! Abe’s comment on hole #7 was a reminder that we just need to take the shot…and see what happens.

Abe and I went to a glorious dinner at the Whole Foods hot bar and I told Abe he would have a few minutes by the time we got home before we needed to start getting cleaned up for bed. “Mom. Putt putt golf is so fun. I hope we get to do it again someday,” he told me in the car.
“We will! We definitely will! I had a great time with you, too, Abe.”
“Yeah, mom. I had a great time with you, too.”
We pulled into the driveway and Abe asked, “How much time do I have before shower?”
“About 20 minutes.”
“Ok, mom. Hey, mom?”
“Yeah babe?”
“Can you play with me?”

You get to make up a noise that you think sounds close to the noise I made…


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