Calling Sam The Butcher; Why I am a sucker for imaginative PLAY

Mid October. Rain. Wind. Overcast…the signs that Jack Frost is indeed packing his bags and headed our way.  Along with the cold, comes the…colds. It’s cough and sniffle central here and after 2 sleepless nights of our oldest coughing for hours, we fell into our “Sunday morning sick routine.” One parent (today my husband) gets dropped off at church with the well child, while the other (that’s me) heads to sick clinic with the cougher. (Have I ever mentioned how beyond thankful I am for our weekend clinic??)

90 minutes and a sinus infection later, we were armed with nasal spray and antibiotics and found ourselves gazing through an antique store to kill time before we had to pick up our more spiritual other halves.  I am fascinated by old furniture, nick nacks, and jewelry but was thrilled today to find this incredibly unique jewelry box for our 6 year old. I had plans to get her one to match her sister’s from Pottery Barn, but…this beauty was more unique, more special, and more…reasonable!

Of all the items big and small in this shabby chic shop, my eight year old settled her weary sick eyes on an old rotary phone. Not a cool antique, dial the operator type…no…this beauty from circa 1982. She was in love. She begged and I reasoned. Why? What will you do with this? Am I really going to pay $18 for a phone that used to take 5 minutes to dial a phone number (cue the clicking noise as the dial rotates because that’s what my head felt like).


She won. My business partner and I have been talking to any one who will listen about PLAY. We’re talking to preschools, Early Head Start Programs, non profits that work with young families, and parents. We dissect PLAY. Why it’s awesome. Why kids needs it. Why they don ‘t have enough. How it affects learning. What happens when they won’t get it. What we need to do to protect PLAY for our kids etc.  And part of that talk centers on pretend play.  Well little Miss Sniffles had her heart set on playing Brady Bunch today with that phone (Hello, Sam the Butcher…we’ll take 2 lb. of lean ground meat. I’ll send Peter right out for that, thank you) and I gave in. I gave in partly for my love of imaginative play and partly for my love of sweet her.

Our $18 was well spent. We spent the day listening (and laughing) to their observations and questions.

“Did you know this had to plugged INTO A WALL for it to work?”

“I love how the wheel spins.”

“Hello, operator, can I please speak to Pappy.”

“Where is the Q?  How could it not work without a Q? Maybe people didn’t use Q’s alot in the old days.”

“Hey Leila, listen! This phone MAKES NOISE when you hang it up!”

“We are NEVER, EVER, EVER getting back together (slam phone)”   And, Thank you Taylor Swift.

It was like they had unearthed a time capsule. This episode in our home comes on the heels of a conversation about what used to happen with computers when I, their old mother, was little (“Why did you have a computer if there was no internet?” “What did you do with it?” “What if you had to look up stuff for school?” “Can you show me a picture of an encyclopedia?”).  Lately they are fascinated with what it was like when we were children (our youngest asked me if the world was in color or black and white then!).

Confession: This is the first time I’ve really felt old as a parent. But I don’t really care. I’m happy to hear them belly laugh, and question, and call Sam the Butcher.




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