PAPA! PAPA! TOBEN!

This cry rang through my house just moments ago.

Toben is a German word and means to play, roughhouse, romp – in our house it means that the children and their father chase, tickle, shout, scream, laugh and cavort. There does not seem to be a single English word that expresses exactly what toben is so we always use the German word.

Since our daughter was a toddler, “toben” was part of our bedtime routine. Contrary to all sensible advice on websites and in parenting books, my husband would race about, throw our daughter in the air, tickle and generally cause much hilarity. The children would sleep so well afterwards, we felt that they had been powered down.

In the years since the children left toddlerhood, we have gotten out of the habit. Until recently when for some reason, our son requested that his father should go toben. Since then he asks every day when Papa will be home, and if we have time for toben. For the children it is a precious time alone with their father.  I would love to say that I use this time to clean up the kitchen or do other worthy domestic tasks, but actually I open a bottle of wine and put my feet up

When they were Kindergarten Kinder, they would request this song to be played:

Now that they are six and eight years old, they generally ask for this song:

as my son is a big fan of Pink.

I can hear them as they giggle, shout and scream. Toben is not just a fun time for the children. For my husband, when he comes home from work stressed and tired, it is time to shake off the daily grind and just laugh and play with the most important small people in his world.

Perhaps we should offer “Toben For Manager” sessions to the major banks and multi-national companies here in Geneva.

Toben For Manager – De-stress Your Inner Child

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