Jan 7, 2010

Pretend Play

1/07/2010 — cori

Playing pretend around here ranks up there with movie and pizza night. My kids LOVE it! Take today for instance. After we spent some time reading and playing games together they look at each other and excitedly pronounce: Let's play 'Bad Kid, Mommy and Daddy'!

Is this really a viable game option? Should I be reading into this? Are they making a mockery of our parental abilities? Is this supposed to be some therapeutic outlet? Should we seek counseling? So many questions and so few answers.

At lunch time I decide to ask the kids about this so-called 'game'. "So, guys, did you have lots of fun playing 'Bad Kids and Mommy'?"

Well...first I am corrected. It's vital that we get the name of the game correct. Chloe is the first to speak up, very loudly, and show me the error of my ways. "No, Mommy. It's 'Bad Kid and Mommy and Daddy.' I'm always the sweet Mommy. But sometimes I'm the 19 year old sister. Gavin is always the Daddy. And Bennett is the best Bad Kid."

"Thanks for clearing that up for me. So...is there a premise to this game?"

Since Gavin is the only one who knows what the word premise means, he enlightens me even further with, "Well Mom, we've been playing this game for a very long time - years actually. It's just fun. Bennett does everything wrong and bad. I'm the superhero Dad and Chloe tell us what to do."

My first impulse is to plead in my head, oh please, God, don't let this be a showcase of all my mothering errors over the years. I'm really not that overbearing and controlling and yelling...am I? And why is the daddy considered a superhero and portrayed as loud and boisterous? This is some warped kid version of satire playing out before me like a live version of "Saturday Night Live".

Bennett decides to give his two cents, "I'm the kid who does everything opposite of what I do in real life. I'm really good at whining and throwing temper tantrums and breaking dishes and making crazy food. The only thing that can stop my bad behavior is when someone talks about food."

Seriously? This is different from real life how?

Apparently, my children enjoy using pretend to let out their alter personalities - the ones tied up inside under the auspices of our perceived control. But evidently, the joke's on us.

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