Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Pretending Beats Realing and TV

The other day Calvin assured me, as he soothed his make-believe, invisible baby chicken who was recovering from a make-believe injury, "I'm just pretending, Mommy. I'm not realing." Because, you know, I was extremely concerned that he had an actual chicken hiding in his hand right under my nose. Wait. No, I wasn't worried. But I love the made-up word! It makes total sense, right? Realing is the opposite of pretending. So great.

The boys have entered a whole new realm with their pretending. It's even more imaginative than when I wrote this a couple months ago. Lately a big thing has been that every toy gets an owie or gets sick and needs medicine and to be petted (“I feel you better, little kitty cat.”) gently by each of them and all present parents. Sometimes they even need band-aids. This scenario is not restricted to toy animals and people, either, though those are the more frequent patients. I’ve been told that trucks and guitars are injured and need medicine as well. Another scene they love to play out is that of a musician coming on stage to a screaming crowd. “MOMMY! I’m Jimmy Buffet! All the people are so happy to see me sing! Come! You clap for me.” Which is when I become the rowdy, one-person fan mob you always wished you could be, as Cal comes jogging out onto the living room stage with his guitar strapped on, waving to the furniture.

We went to the dentist on Friday. I thank the boys' first and only-ever full length movie they've watched for causing them to freak out before we left the house. Finding Nemo has some startling and scary scenes in which the dentist causes his patients pain. It's nothing intentional, it's simply things, like if I remember right, a seagull flies into the office and the dentist leaves a needle in a patient's gum and the chair spins around or something of an equally startling nature. And while I'm harshing on Nemo, let me just say: watch a movie, regardless of how harmless it may seem, before you let your kids see it. We got a car DVD player for Christmas and put in Finding Nemo on our way to the lake house over New Year's. A couple minutes down the road we realized (because we couldn't SEE it) that we were introducing our children to death. Nemo's mom dies in the very beginning. So the boys kept asking, "Where's Coral? What happened to Coral?" And we were a little caught off guard and said something about how sometimes people go away and don’t come back and then felt like bad parents for not checking the movie.

Anyway, back to the dentist pretending: It took us repeatedly telling the boys, "Just Mommy and Daddy are going to see the dentist, Cal and Clark get to play in the playroom." Finally they seemed to believe us and allowed themselves to be strapped in the car seats. (Next time they will actually see the dentist for the first time) When we got there they played with blocks for a little while, while Brian got his teeth cleaned, but not really as blocks. Cal had me make a block guitar and Clark was pretending the blocks were food and cups. I completed an architecturally innovative tower using all the blocks in the playroom while the boys watched, unimpressed, feeding the stuffed animals, including The Grinch, pretend milk. When I finished, they launched hardcore into their interactive, third party pretending. Cal went and got me pretend blue lollipops, throwing the pretend wrappers and sticks away after each one. Soon Clark started making pretend "zonya" (lasagna) for not only me and Cal, but for the receptionists and other patients in the waiting room. They all loved playing along and the boys thrived off the enthusiasm. They ran around collecting various colored "cups" of water with ice for the lasagna eaters and putting sauce on it for everyone, while Clark constantly said, “there you go, man (or lady)” in a baby-voice for whatever reason.

I was glad that the boys never once asked me to watch the two TVs that were in the playroom, but instead did all their pretending and not much realing. They lasted the whole time we were there—well over an hour-- even though it was during their normal nap time, and they barely played with any actual toys-- mostly imaginary food and real people. And I love that, since I am still the bed-jumping, mud pie-making Olympic champion and tape recorder radio station/play food restaurant entrepreneur that I was all those years ago somewhere in a quiet Idaho forest. 
and the crowd goes wild!

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