The kid who never played


The kid who never played. That’s me. The realization hit me yesterday afternoon. Mom and I had our quality time. I was too antsy to sit still and do something that required focus, so mom suggested we go upstairs on the attic and look around, like we sometimes do. I didn’t really want to do that either, but we went anyway.

The attic, you see, is not one of those creepy, dusty, dark places, but a fairly big space with a big gable window, looking down on the garden. There’s old furniture up there, stuff like dressers and armchairs, and shelves and chests, that kind of thing. That, and my siblings’ old toys.

Those are what I usually enjoy looking at. I kind of marvel that three kids would have had so many toys. I mean it’s like a small toy store. Barbie dolls, action heroes, a play kitchen, a tea set, Lego bricks, a doll house, baby toys, matchbox cars and lots of other things, all neatly stacked away.

Yesterday when we were up there and looked at the toys it was different than all other times before, though. Mom suggested we play with something and instantly I felt this weird kind of paralysis come over me. A strong feeling of ‘no, just looking’. I wanted to take one of the little cars that mom held out to me, but I couldn’t make my arm move. It was not a scary feeling, which I find interesting, because just thinking of being unable to move makes me freak, but it was kind of like I knew I was able to move in every other way, just not in the way required to take the toy. So I just stared at it and tried to will my arm to take it, but my arm and hand didn’t obey.

With it came a memory of me being in school. It must have been one of the low grades, like first grade or so, because there were toys. I remembered standing in front of a low shelf. There were puzzles and playdough and a small baby doll. In my memory I am standing there, looking at the things, wanting to take the baby doll, but finding myself unable to move in the same way that I just experienced with the car. So I just stared at the doll for a long time.

I am pretty certain that I never played. I have no single memory of me playing. I have no recollection of having toys, or of any significant toy that I was attached to. I don’t think I ever played by myself, and certainly not with other children. I have memories of watching children play, but not a single one of doing it myself. I am the kid who never played.

Mom eventually put the toy car into my hand, which broke the spell. We ended up playing car crash, by sitting opposite each other and giving the cars a push towards the middle, trying to make them crash. Not the world’s most creative game, but it was silly and fun. 🙂

16 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. nobodysreadingme
    Jan 07, 2013 @ 14:32:48

    OK so I’m making an idiot of myself trying to make sure nobody in the library sees that I’m crying. Then it all gets, if not happy, silly and fun.
    Well done. and there’s Little Lola now of course

    • Lola
      Jan 07, 2013 @ 17:29:04

      Oh, shucks, Dunk, I’m sorry. I know you’ll live, but I never meant to make anyone cry, and certainy not you. I appreciate your empathy, though. See, that’s why you’re one of the good guys! But yeah, the whole realitation mess ended nicely. Playing collision cars was fun. And I guess it’s never to late to play. Yeah, and you’re right, I have Little Lola now! 🙂

  2. vwoopvwoop
    Jan 07, 2013 @ 16:41:21

    i can so relate to this. instead of playing with toys i would read books. sometimes my sister wanted me to play dolls with her and i would do it to placate her but i felt like i had no idea what i was doing and i felt really self-conscious the whole time. i didn’t know how to play.
    i’m glad you played cars with your mom, that sounds pretty fun. 🙂

    • Lola
      Jan 07, 2013 @ 17:35:03

      I can totally relate to feeling awkward and self-conscious about what to do with your sister’s dolls. I think this awkwardness and self-consciousness played a big role in my ending up unable to take the car. I felt like mom expected me to do something and I had no idea what! Sometimes it’s weird to think that any little toddler knows what to do with toys, yet here I am, unable to do something myself. But letting the cars crash was fun, indeed. Something of an excercise in skill, really, but it makes a very gratifying little noise when they crash. 🙂

  3. nobodysreadingme
    Jan 07, 2013 @ 17:36:29

    You didn’t make me cry, since it was never your intention to manipulate. I simply found the story sad, then remarkably joyous.
    I sent one of my friends in your direction on this post.
    We both like the sound of your mum, sorry, mom. No still doesn’t sound right with my accent

    • Lola
      Jan 07, 2013 @ 17:46:46

      No I never wanted to manipulate anyone. I guess the story is kind of sad, but at least the cars thing was way fun. Oh, and cool about your friend. 🙂 (Hi, friend of Duncan!)

      Haha, and ‘mum’ feels just as weird on my tongue, as ‘mom’ does on yours. Just the same I can “hear” you (in my mind) pulling off the ‘mum’-thing just fine! Thanks for saying you like the sound of her. 🙂

  4. kat
    Jan 07, 2013 @ 19:15:32

    It is sad that you never got to play, but I’m glad you are finally getting that experience 🙂

    • Lola
      Jan 07, 2013 @ 19:56:06

      Thank you! 🙂 I’m very glad that I got yesterday’s experience, and look forward to getting more. 🙂

  5. lostservice22
    Jan 08, 2013 @ 00:11:11

    two things.

    One, i totally get the not playing. I did play with toys but I clearly missed things as a kid because i was so shy and tended to read books rather then play with other kids. I always felt like if i was around them too long they would some how “know” what had happened to me. it has cause a few odd interactions as I got older. recently when wrestling with my boyfriend he stopped and asked ‘didn’t you ever play uncle as a kid?’ you know where the other kid holds you down till you say uncle or some other type of begging to be let up. i just looked and him and was like ‘nope.’ why on earth would I have ever let some one hold me down willingly when I was a kid?

    the second thing, that I like to tell any one and every one no matter what their childhood was like is, You should always find time to be silly and play. for instance I just recently bought my self some color pencils and a coloring book. I’m 28 and don’t have kids. I love it. I also splash in puddles when it rains, and sing at the top of my lungs when a good song is on the radio.

    you are right it is NEVER to late to play.

    • Lola
      Jan 08, 2013 @ 09:25:50

      I was no good at reading (still am reading challenged, in fact), so I never turned to books. Whoa, and the thought of playing “uncle” or whatever! Shit, that sounds like the creepiest game ever! Especially when it’s also called “uncle”! Gives me chills up and down my spine just thinking about it! I have no idea why anyone would willingly want to get held down either, thinking of an uncle no less!!!

      And about that second thing, you know, I really agree. Colored pencils and a coloring book are such a nice idea! Haha, and I love to splash in puddles, too. Or kick up fall leaves. Or throw snowballs. Or swing on swingsets when we come by a playground that isn’t busy with little kids. All those are definitely fun. It’s never to late, indeed! 🙂

  6. nobodysreadingme
    Jan 08, 2013 @ 10:57:31

    Forgot to mention that the photograph is really inspired. I nearly what was coming just from the picture

    • Lola
      Jan 08, 2013 @ 13:45:42

      Thanks! Those are some of the old cars. And I’m rather relieved that I’m not the one who is responsible for most of the scratches on them! 😀

      • nobodysreadingme
        Jan 08, 2013 @ 13:48:13

        Toy cars are meant to be played with. Only dorks collect mint condition ones

        • Lola
          Jan 08, 2013 @ 13:57:11

          Haha! Yeah! My dork brother collects little model airplanes (the kind that come loose and need to be assembled first) and it’s a really bad idea to touch any of them. So no trying out if they might actually fly here. Bummer. 😉

          • nobodysreadingme
            Jan 08, 2013 @ 14:08:51

            I can relate to that. I used to be an obsessional builder of model cars. I’d spend weeks building just one
            I had them in a display cabinet at home. I got back from my first term at university, and my mum had given them all away.
            Sad to say, at the age of eighteen I was still building them. My mother was on pain of death not to touch them
            I didn’t stop till i was 26.

            • Lola
              Jan 08, 2013 @ 14:32:00

              Haha, Dork! 😛

              No, seriously, I do admire the patience and skill required to assemble those little things. I’d go crazy. And I’m sorry your mom gave all your models away while you were at university. That’s sad and a bit bold, too. After all they were yours, not hers. Glad you didn’t let it deter you and continued. I guess they’re fun, if you have enough patience to build them. 🙂

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