Sometimes my kids ask me to play with them. Not often though.
They always ask me to read to them, to sing to them, to color with them…but they don’t always ask me to PLAY with them.
That’s because I do it wrong.
What’s that? Oh, you were not aware that there’s a wrong way to play? Let me assure you there is. And I do it.
Carter is a very patient, understanding child who plays well with everyone. And if you believe that then I’d like to welcome you to my blog! You’re clearly new.
Carter has an absolute zero tolerance policy for anything that differs from his ideas about how things should be.
So, for example, if you’re playing cars and you think your car wants to take a left turn at the block tower you could be completely wrong. That car was meant to turn right. And Carter will tell you, over and over, until your car bangs a right. Don’t ask how he knows, he just knows.
Sometimes the cars you are playing with have names too. But don’t get all crazy and try to name your own car. Unless, of course, you want to be wrong again…
Carter: "Here mom, you can be this car. His name is Red."
Me: "Well, if he's my car I want his name to be Chimichanga."
Carter: "That's a ridiculous name. He's red. So his name is Red...ya know what, I can't do this with you right now. I’ll wait to play this game when Grant is up."
Right. Because Grant knows better. Here is how the interaction goes between the two of them:
Carter: “This is how this is going to work…”
Grant: “Of course that’s how this is going to work. I know because you just told me ‘this is how this is going to work’. So obviously that’s the way it’s going to be. I don’t question your authority. Who do you think I am? Mom?”
It’s so much easier to boss around your little brother than you mom.
When we play guys and superheroes I never quite know what’s going on either:
“Spiderman is going to rescue this pirate guy!”
“No, no, no, no…that pirate is bad. He’s in jail.”
And guy time is also scripted:
“Captain America says ‘I’ll come get you out!’”
“No, no, no, no…he says ‘I’ll come save you’. So say ‘I’ll come save you’.”
The other thing I play wrong is trains. I play trains like an asshole.
I always spend a good amount of time building the absolute perfect track for their trains to drive on. It has loops and bridges and tunnels and it all connects. I get into my work. And I really hate it when the boys try to help and then I have to be all “Back off kids, I am soooo much better at this than you!”
Anyway, when the track is complete it looks something like this:
I will stand back and think “Wow! They are going to play on this for HOURS!”
Cut to three seconds later when Carter gets bored with my track and decides to make one of his own.
This is the track Carter makes:
Raise your hand if you think this is the less boring track configuration...
And guess what? This is the one they play on. They go around and around chasing each other’s trains and making up rescue situations. It’s obviously the coolest track ever. Because Carter has deemed it so.
So after all that work I still played incorrectly. And when it’s time to clean up and I tell the boys to help me Carter will naturally say:
“Well, Mom, you’re the one who played with all THAT track. I’ll just clean up this little one here.”
And he’ll be right.
If you’re looking for a gift for me at any point I could really use another station house for my train set. Or a car I can name Chimichanga and not get any shit for it.