The boys recently located the guest room’s closet and the piles of suitcases within. They’ve been “going to the airport” for three days straight now. Will very much enjoys the packing and unpacking of things, including his brother and his-self. Ben mostly enjoys telling you that he’s going to the airport, then rolling the luggage down the hall, only to return 30 seconds later to let you know he’s come home. Mark is nearly insane with the repetition and will periodically refuse to play, offer suggestions on alternative scenarios, or pretend to sleep. This, of course, does nothing to sway the players. In fact, it might just intensify the need to have him as a participant. “Dadda!! Play Airport!!” “Mark, help me!” (those darn retractable handles) “Waaaa-aake up!!!!!!!”
I’m reading Playful Parenting by Lawrence Cohen. I’ve read it before and I’m now rereading it with my new book club. It’s a fantastic book with really valuable insight into attachment, connection, and healing through play. Cohen talks about how children work stuff out through their play. All the hurts, worries, anxieties, and other emotion overloads children experience daily are prime themes for the play they choose. According to Cohen, all these negative feelings are the byproduct of disconnection. By being a “playful parent”, one can reestablish that connection, and speed in the healing that comes from playing.
So, the suitcase game is obviously about separation, loss, and reuniting. Mark is finally back to a regular schedule after working CRAZY overtime hours for the past six weeks. It doesn’t take a child psychologist to see where the game comes from. Does knowing the reasons and originations of the play make it any easier to tolerate, ad nauseum? Maybe.