When I was young I remember there were only two things to do:  playing and not playing.  Not playing involved things like sitting at the table and wiping your mouth, struggling with unwieldy backpacks of textbooks, and using your foot to push piles of books and toys to one corner of your room.  Everything else was play.

This morning I took Toddler Harbat to school.  In the mornings she’s more reserved, and wants to hold on to me when we get to her class.  I took her to the box with the pink pretty princess ponies with impractically long hair.  No reaction, which is a surprise since she usually carries on about “brushing the ponies’ hair”.  I was already late for work, and she hung on me like a barnacle on a pier.

One of her classmates, a blond-headed boy with a cheerful manner, came up to me and said, “Today my mommy comes and my daddy comes in his car in the afternoon.”

I asked the boy if he wanted to play with TH.  He nodded and pointed up the shelf.

“Can you get that one?”

“The puzzle?  This one?”

Hand-waving and more pointing.  “The one with the frog.”

I took down a puzzle and put it between the two kids.  Toddler Harbat let go of my pantleg and sat down.  As I walked out I saw the two of them pulling out the puzzle pieces together.  Playing.


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Writer, architect, father, husband.

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