I enjoy the creative ways my children play. I am most interested in the ways that they incorporate real life into their play. One day, I was only peripherally aware of all the children playing with the girls’ dollhouse and calico critters. Later, as I was walking by the dollhouse, this is what I saw:
You will notice that the boys taped off a section on the dollhouse floor, and that they have the calico critter babies confined within that taped area.
Some of you will immediately recognize the origins of this pretend play. That blue painter’s tape is the same tape I have used for several years with Rachel and Prairie. When each girl became mobile, I taped the floor across the entryways to the living room and then trained the crawling baby not to cross the blue line. This has been a lifesaver in many ways. It kept my baby or toddler from falling down the office steps or crawling off into big brothers’ room where she was sure to find lots of chokeables. It also kept her out of the kitchen and away from the stove, but within eyesight while I was cooking.
I’ve also found it useful in training a baby or toddler general obedience and self-control. It requires a great deal of self-control when a favorite toy (or a brother eating a cookie) is on the other side of that blue line. Prairie, in particular, has gotten good at asking for what she wants instead of fussing for it. When she sees me preparing food in the kitchen, she will usually run up to the blue line that separates the living room from the kitchen and ask “Eat? Eat?”
Okay, let’s get back to the pretend play. Not all my boys’ pretend play is innocence and light. I overheard them one day talking about Mr. Rudisill, our local store owner, packing double, even triple doses of nicotine into his cigarettes. The “pretend” evil Mr. Rudisill (not the real Mr. Rudisill) wanted to get people addicted to his cigarettes, so they would buy more cigarettes.
My first thought —- wait, I didn’t hear that right. But a few more minutes listening in confirmed that I HAD heard correctly. Truthfully, I was concerned about the deviousness of their little minds to come up with such a scenario. So I asked the boys a few questions, trying to discern the origin of these ideas.
It turns out that Sid had had a long discussion with the boys about nicotine addiction, cigarette companies, Fidel Castro and Cuba. Whew! That must have been some discussion.