I had an epiphany yesterday: I am one lazy mom.
Lately Rollie has been really into pretending that an alligator is coming to get him. What started out as an excuse for him to run shrieking around the house and diving onto the couch has become an elaborate game where I remove the couch cushions and arrange them on the floor to create the water where the alligator lurks, and the naked couch is our boat. And then I have to sit on the 'boat' with him, where I have to rock back and forth to simulate waves, and at the perfect moment, Rollie lunges from the 'boat' and into the 'water' and flails around until I grab one of his legs and rescue him from the alligator's jaws. Oh yeah, and while I'm doing this, I have to make alligator noises. Only I don't really know what kind of noises and alligator makes. I know what they sound like when they're mating, but bellowing like a horny gator doesn't seem like a good idea. Right now Rollie thinks an alligator says 'snap, snap, snap.'
The game has somewhat degenerated since its inception. The first time we played it went something like this:
Rollie: Momma, the alligator's coming. (This is my cue that it's time for me to drop everything I was just doing, even if I was in the middle of diffusing a bomb, and run to the couch)
Me: I see it! (I throw some cushions on the floor and jump on the couch) Hurry and get on the boat!
Rollie: Is he swimming closer?
Me: I think so! And the boat is super-rocky, too! (I move back and forth for emphasis)
Rollie: Why is the boat super-rocky?
Me: Because it's windy and wavy out here! Watch out Rollie! Don't fall in!
Rollie (lunging from the couch and onto the cushions): Mommaaaa! Save meeeee!
Me: Ah! (snap snap snap) Rollie! (snap snap snap) Hang on, I'm coming! (I grab one of his ankles and pull him back onto the couch)
Rollie: That was close! Thank you, Momma.
Me: You're welcome, Love.
But of course, a two-year-old's desire for repetition is insatiable. If Rollie enjoyed playing a game one afternoon, why wouldn't he enjoy playing that same game--exactly as it was played the day before--fifteen afternoons in a row?
Unfortunately for Rollie, I don't have the attention-span, energy, or interest in playing the alligator game for very long. Three minutes is pretty much my limit. For some reason, pretending we are the prey of some imaginary reptile is more draining than running a mini-marathon.
Yesterday the alligator game went something like this:
Rollie: Momma, the alligator's coming!
Me: Oh, Rollie, do you really want to play that now?
Rollie: Come on, Momma! Hurry!
Me: Rollie, I'm in the middle of something here (emailing, writing, folding laundry, tweezing a stray and alarmingly long facial-hair).
Rollie (grabbing my hand): The alligator's gonna eat us, Momma! Come on!
Me: Oh, all right, hang on a minute.
Rollie: Momma, hurry! He's coming!
Me: Stop pulling on me. I said hang on a minute.
Rollie: Turn off your computer and come on!
Me (sighing, like my son is totally putting me out by making me get off Hotmail and pay attention to him): I'm coming, I'm coming. (I trudge to the couch and lie down on it) Oh no, the alligator's coming.
Rollie: No, Momma, put the pillows on the floor.
Me: Why don't we pretend they're on the floor?
Rollie: Get off, Momma. Put the pillows on the floor.
Me (sighing again): All right, all right. There. Happy?
Rollie: Get on the boat, Momma.
Me (groaning as I stretch out across the cushionless couch): These springs are pokey.
Rollie: No, not like that Momma, like this. (He rocks back and forth)
Me: Momma's tired, Rollie. I think I'll just lie here and keep a look out for the alligator.
Rollie: No Momma, sit up.
Me: You're so bossy, you know that?
Rollie: Aaaah! I'm falling in the water!
Me: Uh-oh. Hurry. Swim. Pull yourself out.
Rollie: No, you have to save me, Momma!
Me: Momma can't save you. She broke her leg.
Rollie: Grab my foot, Momma! Pull me out!
Me: Oh, all right. (I lug myself into a sitting position and lean over to grab him) Ugh. Mommy needs some caffeine.
Rollie: Say 'snap snap,' Momma.
Me: Snap snap snap. There, I saved you. (I lie back down on the couch).
Rollie: Thanks, Momma. Where'd the alligator go?
Me: I think he swam away to go take a nap.
Rollie: I think I see him!
Me: No, that's just a shadow.
Rollie: ...Is Dadda home yet?
I don't mean to be a total drag, a lame playmate with no imagination whatsoever. Sometimes I get into it, sometimes I can almost see the yellow eyes of a stalking predetor, feel the hot breath of a bear or the sharp claws of a lion. But usually I find the energy completely leaving my body as soon as Rollie mentions the word alligator. I find myself trying to come up with games I can play with him that don't require much movement on my part. If I could come up with a fun mother-son activity I can do while I take a nap, that would be ideal. Right now I've found indoor baseball to be a pretty good game. I sit on my ass and lob squishy balls at him, he hits them and runs around the house, and then I make him fetch the balls and bring them back to me. That may make me lazy, but at least we're spending some Quality Time together. Maybe I can figure out how to squeeze in a power nap every time he rounds the bases....