Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Games We Play

TV has somehow lost its enchantment around here. That's good. I promise, it's good. In my whole personal evolution of letting-go-of-the-dream-of-a-spotless-house-because-these-are-the-Tupperware-years (it's a process, people, it's a process), I'm having fun playing games with the girls instead. We pull everything out and spread it on the floor and make a huge mess and it's been great. I'm not even talking about board games, which sound like a wonderful idea, but after what seems like hours, when actually, sweet fancy Moses, it's only been about 4.5 minutes of playing Candyland and I'm ready to tear off my own fingernails--these are fun, imaginative games. Like Parade. Parade is this. Lucy takes both of my hairbrushes and a cardboard box. She's both the bandleader and the drummer (just like Daddy). We line all the dolls and stuffed animals up on either side of her--they're the spectators along the parade route (we throw imaginery candy to them). Elaine has several roles (because she'll only do something for a second or two). Sometimes she grabs a blanket and is the flag-waver (she's actually trying to play peek-a-boo and keeps waiting for us to say "Peek!" and laugh repeatedly). She's also the fire engine driver, which means she takes the little red rocking chair and pushes it around the room (she's actually good for that for at least 10 minutes). She's also the lead (and only) equestrian as she pushes and/or rides Dobbin, the rocking horse. I'm the parade singer. Whatever the band leader tells me to sing, be it several hundred verses of Old MacDonald or I'm Gonna Sing Sing Sing I'm Gonna Shout Shout Shout I'm Gonna Sing I'm Gonna Shout and Praise the Lord, I do it.

We also play Wedding. This is a strictly no-boys affair, which sort of makes it all moot, but we go with it. Lucy yells, "Dad, be sure not to come in here. It's No Boys Allowed. You can just watch your baseball game." (I know he's disappointed.) The girls dress in their Cinderella dresses, Easter hats, and Lucy wears my high heels (she's got about as good of balance as I do in them). Then we take their pink plastic phones and call up all the wedding participants--Janet, Harriet, Mrs. Blomberg, to name a few--and give them their wedding responsibilities. Then I put on the wedding music and we march together. I've already made it clear to them that the only acceptable wedding march is Purcell's Trumpet Tune, seeing as that's what Manga had, I had, and Tia had. They seem to accept that.

Another game I invented (I'm kicking myself now) is Restaurant. The girls sit at the island and order food from "Myrtle." (Myrtle talks through her nose, which they find hilarious and I just want to stop and be Mom again.) I come around with a pad of paper and a pen behind my ear and take their orders. They order macaroni and cheese, mandarin oranges, and goldfish crackers. (I guess there's sort of a color theme there, and I'm optimistically thinking we're covering most of the food groups in that meal. I read in someone's blog about their children snacking on tofu and miso soup and some sort of cracked grain/sprout crackers I've never even heard of, and I had to stop reading in despair. I think we're having a good day when we keep the jellybean quotient to a minimum.)

Elaine has her own games too. Her absolute favorite is when I'm changing her, to scramble away naked, climb up on the pillows on the guestroom bed so she can see out the window, and play with the blinds (I'm sure that's safe!) Her other favorite is to take her grocery cart (it used to also double as a car you can ride on, but I left it outside over the winter, and now it won't collapse but stays permanently in grocery cart position. Nice work, Mama.) and cruise around and around--through the kitchen, dining room, living room, little room, and back into the kitchen. Every so often I hear her bump into something and she says, "Whoa!" then keeps on moving. The dearest part is that most runs through the kitchen, she'll stop by me, hug my leg, then resume her rounds.

So, as I said, we're not missing TV that much these days.

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