“I don’t think I want my play kitchen anymore,” my daughter announced while we spring-cleaned the basement the other day.
I had to leave the room to collect my thoughts. (And weep quietly in the bathroom.)
I may be walking around with a smile on my face this week, but I cry a little inside every time I think of that moment. Not just because of the dreary weather (well, maybe) or my erratic hormones (well, that too), but because I’m realizing that my little girl isn’t so little anymore.
She couldn’t mean the plastic gourmet play kitchen that she used to “slave over” when she was a toddler? The one with a “working” stovetop, beeping microwave, faux hardwood floor and other cute mini-gourmet-culinary accessories?
It couldn’t be.
I still want to play in that kitchen.
How could she NOT want to play in it anymore?
The fact that this mini-kitchen is nicer than any kitchen I’ve ever owned is beyond the point. Or the fact that if I sketched a Randy-to-the-Rescue blue print of my dream kitchen, you’d pretty much see THIS KITCHEN.. in white. And the fact that I’ve actually pretended to make bacon and eggs on the stovetop that makes an unbelievably cool boiling noise and brew a pot of coffee in the pretend coffee maker that actually sounds like a real coffee maker is also beyond the point.
What kills me… is that my daughter getting rid of this play kitchen symbolizes the beginning of a new phase.
The pre-tween years.
I realize my baby is growing up. But she’s 9.
Can’t she hold onto it a little longer?
My best friend and I played house…until we were WAY too old to play house.
We actually turned her mom’s garage into an imaginary world – we transformed half of it into an apartment and the other into a school. We were like Janet and Chrissie Snow without Jack, but we were teachers in Clear Lake City. We would play school for hours and then go back to our “apartment” while listening to the Go Go’s and Foreigner. And, yes, our older siblings and their friends totally made fun of us for playing pretend straight through fifth grade. They still do, to this day.
But we couldn’t help it. We were kids. And it was fun.
It’s not that I don’t want my daughter to grow up. I want her to grow up and be everything she wants to be in life.
I just want the growing up part to slow down a little.
I should be thankful that she still likes to play dress up. She still plays with her American Girl Dolls. (I no longer have to take care of them while she’s at school.) But she doesn’t want the kitchen anymore.
What if we remodeled it? Maybe THAT would change her mind? Re-vamping the cabinets and re-finishing the faux hardwoods?
That’s so sad… I’m going to be 14 in a month and I love playing with dolls, American Girl and playing house, pretending to be reporters and having dance parties to high school musical and Let It Shine. My friends and I have lots of fun. One of my friends is 15, two almost 13, almost all over 11 and the rest younger than 10. Age doesn’t really matter and it’s easy to forget. We play games and have lots of fun together. I just wish it was like that for everyone. I got rid of my plastic kitchen set (to be fair it was missing a lot of pieces) when I was little and I still want another one. I miss it so much. Kids seem to be growing up so, so fast these days (as if I have any reference point) It’s just peer pressure. Here’s one thing you should probably know about kids from say ages 10 to 15 give or take: As much as we might act like we want to be treated as grown ups and be independent (I do my fair share of it, too) we really, truly don’t. Seriously. I mean we don’t want people to be condescending, but we really do want boundaries and we’re still prone to childish thinking – I realize that just about every time I get to thinking I’m so smart and mature – and then like today in English for example I was curious if the myth that gum gets stuck in your stomach for 7 years was mythology. I mean, it’s not that I don’t know about all that ewwy stuff in the media or tv. I just don’t like it. S Oh, growing up is so overrated, It’s funny though cause maturity somehow gets underrated. I learned from The Story Girl and Anne of Green Gables. I mean, the Story Girl was 14 and she had lots of fun and mishaps. So please maybe subtly encourage your daughter to keep playing. She’ll regret it if she doesn’t. When I was 9 I stopped playing pretend and stuff because my little sis said it was childish. And then thankfully when I was 10 a teacher helped me remember that it’s okay to be childish because well, we’re children.
Thanks, Caryn. I kid around, but I’m grateful for imaginations. Thankfully my daughter is still a kid and acts that way too. Oh, she still plays pretend all the time. Just not with her old plastic house. She is very creative and uses her imagination.
Kirsten DiChiappari said:
Aw! I feel your pain! Syd is 7.5 going on 21 and I can’t keep up with the changes and the drama. We’re in for a wild ride!
Thanks, Kirsten! We are..oh lordy, we are.
My babies are 4 & 6 and each time they say they are done with what was once a favorite toy, book or even their “lovies” that they slept with when they were babies my heart breaks a little more.
My babies are 4 and 6 and it hurts a little more each time they proclaim they are done with something, whether it be a toy, a favorite book or even their special “lovey”. While these things that were once so important to them are still important, just not to them but rather to me and the memories they hold.
Oh no. It breaks my heart too, oh how I understand. It’s so bittersweet…
Michele C. said:
oh dear. I dread the day this happens!!!! I agree – it’s so bittersweet. It’s wonderful to see them grow and develop into amazing young people, but letting go of that kid phase is very hard on us parents. And yes, my kids’ kitchen is definitely cooler than mine. They have a plate rack, which I’ve always wanted. Someday 😉
Chelley / AisForAdelaide said:
Oh love… her kitchen sounds better than mine! It’s so hard to let go, but so enchanting to watch them do more and see what the next big thing is! I hope time slows a bit for you ❤
When the Kids Go To Bed said:
Oh Jackie, this makes MY heart ache. I can’t even imagine. Maybe mount an mp3 player under the counter. The one thing I loved about babysitting when I was a tween was getting to play restaurant again.
That garage sounds like PARADISE!
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It WAS, Katy! It was the BEST. 😉