June 25th, 2010

The Torture of Playing Make Believe

Angie McCullagh

I consider myself lucky that I get to have a boy and a girl. Both genders. Two very different experiences. Which is exactly what my husband and I hoped for. Milo toughens Belle and Belle softens Milo.

And not only are their sexes and temperaments distinct, but their play styles are as polar opposite as wrestling and interpretive dance.

Though I adore Belle and her drama and imagination, I actually prefer playing with Milo. He likes Catch. Or Battleship. Or good, old-fashioned card games. Easy. Straight forward. Even edging toward fun.

Belle, however, concocts elaborate, never-ending, labyrinths in which the rules exist only in her head and can change on a dime. A typical play session with Belle might go something like this:

Belle: Mommy, it’s Sylvie’s birthday today. Will you come to her party? (Sylvie isn’t actually a person, but some apparition Belle refers to regularly.)

I agree and head up to her room.

Belle: Okay, Mommy. It’s a fairy party. A fairy party where everyone brings a pet toad. Did you bring your toad?

Me: Yes, right here. (I tug on an imaginary leash)

Belle: Wait, Mommy. Wait! Your toad looks more like a duck. Sylvie doesn’t like ducks. So, we’re going to go to the pet store to get you a toad. And while we’re there, Sylvie wants to look at kittens and hamsters.

Me: What about the birthday party?

Belle: The party will come after the pet store, Mommy. And on the way to the pet store, we’re going to bake Sylvie a cake.

I pantomime mixing cake ingredients.

Belle: No, Mommy. No! Not like that. I’m going to make the cake. You’re just going to put it in the oven for me.

Me: Okay. Let me know when it’s ready. (About now, I start staring longingly at the laundry that needs to be folded and the bookshelves that could use organizing.)

Belle: We can’t bake the cake without a hamster. Hamsters like to lick the beaters.

On and on it goes with Belle manufacturing game parameters along the way and me pulling my hair out in clumps.

I love that girl and the stupendous stories she comes up with, but when it comes to playing with my kids, I’ll take a nice, lazy game of Uno over “The Toads and the Hamsters Bake a Birthday Cake” any day.

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This Weeks Tip

We did a review a while ago of dry shampoo. Here’s an alternative when you don’t have time to wash, but want to get rid of the oily-ness. Sprinkle some baking soda on your hair, comb through then quickly fluff your hair with a blow dryer. (note: You can also add a little scented baby powder to keep your hair smelling clean!)