Four Reasons Why I Can't Play With My 4-Year-Old

by Brooke Takhar
Originally Published: 

I have one daughter who, all things considered, is a dream. With a little bit of cereal, smooches, Netflix and bubble baths, she lives a good life. She sleeps when I ask and has better manners than I do. For the most part, she’s a great kid that I’m proud to call mine.

Until she asks me one loaded question, and then she’s my worst nightmare.

Here’s why her seemingly innocent request, “Mama, can we play?” makes me want to tantrum.

I Don’t Know Who Any of These People Are.

What is this? A fairy with dog wings? How does this “thing” walk with a ruched ball gown and no arches in her size 2 feet? Why does this Child Doctor need 17 sparkly miniature instruments that are now embedded deep in my kneeling kneecaps? Kid, where are the Barbies? Or the thicker, taller and more rubbery Jem dolls? What about the Cabbage Patch Kids? Rainbow Brite? Mother-loving POUND PUPPIES? I know those things. I can still smell some of them. I can create universes for you with them. But I don’t see them anywhere in this room stacked with every other toy Mattel ever dreamed up. Yes, I know I am the one in charge of supplying your toys, but sometimes I let you choose toys and pay for them while I’m high on Facebook, and all of a sudden I’m holding 14 cat figurines wearing lipstick and I have no idea what you want me to do with them.

The Rules Don’t Make Sense.

OK, wait. Future Elsa can communicate with present-day Elsa? Do wormholes exist in Arendelle? Are you sure Lego was around in the time of dinosaurs? If you even graze me with the lightsaber, I lose a whole limb, but if I run it along your entire body, you remain unfazed and whole? I don’t think princesses would discuss bowel movements this heartily and for this long. Why does that bracelet give you superpowers, but if I dare wear it you panic and say it’s broken and stinky? I am lost.

I’m Too Tired.

Mama got up at a responsible time, got herself wet, dried, lotion’d, mascara’d and caffeinated while you were still snorting and snoring. I got us all ready, dropped you off then worked all day, drove, ate, ran, ran errands, tweeted, got annoyed by people I like on Facebook, picked you up, made dinner out of 46 aging items in the fridge, did the dishes, hid in the bathroom for 11 minutes, and now just sat down with a cup of already lukewarm tea. Now, you want me to play. Pardon me while I pretend to be in a coma until your bedtime.

The Internet.

My parents were much better parents because their only legitimate parenting distractions were making sure their bellbottoms were thick and wide, and deciding whether Beta or VHS was the way to go. In my pocket, seconds from my itchy fingers, is my phone with a line to the WORLD. So I’m sorry if wrangling this taffeta dress up and over the stiff plastic hips of a headless doll isn’t my favourite way to spend an hour. The Internet is soothing and wise and colourful and inspiring and gossipy and wonderful and oh WHAT I’m already on Pinterest and I NEED to know what is in this miraculous new smoothie.

HEY! I have an idea for an amazing new game. It’s called “Go See What Your Dad is Doing!”

Related post: 10 Reasons Not To Play Board Games With Your Kids

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