Sunday, February 3, 2008

Play Right, or Play Alone

A few weeks ago, ran a great commentary about how much it sucks to play with your kids. I mean, does anybody over the age of 3 enjoy Chutes and Ladders? But if you've got kids, you gotta play with 'em from time to time. My problem isn't the playing, per se, it's the fact that my kids insist on playing incorrectly.

Take Barbie. My daughter got a bunch of doll furniture and incredibly cool accessories for her Barbies, everything from salad bowls to bed linens. I would have killed for this stuff when I was twice her age. Push a button, and the washing machine and dryer actually churn. But instead of arranging the china properly and putting the fake flowers in the appropriate vases, she wants to "improvise." She wants to put the fake food on the sofa, the basket of apples on the end table, and cram as many serving dishes as possible on the breakfast table. So naturally I tried to show her how to arrange everything just so, so that Barbie and her friends wouldn't wake up to rotting fruit and milk in the living room the next day. Her response was typical: "Mommy, you need to get your own." And that is why her arrangement looks like crap.

My son just got these cool Transformers action figures, and we took them out in the backyard today for some old-fashioned combat. He was generous and let me be Optimus Prime for a few minutes while he did the villain thing with Megatron. But you know, there are only so many ways you can knock action figures around and send them flying through the air in slow motion, John Woo style. Plus, my son's dialogue was cliched and didn't really advance the plot. To make it interesting, I dug a pit in the dirt, see? And then I put twigs and leaves on top of the pit so that Megatron would walk on top of it and FALL INTO THE PIT. Paging Michael Bay! All I wanted to do was take a few pictures of this little action scene because it was cool, and my son was all, "Um, can you do that later?"

I'm not playing with them anymore.

1 comment:

Sghoul said...

Well, I used to do the things your daughter was doing. I rarely played with a toy for it's original intent. I remember deciding that my B.A.T.S (GI Joe badguy robots) had jet rockets in their arms, so I would let them fly.

This is probably why i liked Legos...I could make things what I wanted. If I was at some firends house that had teh Lego house set (for girls) I would take the flower tops off of the flower stems and make them some kind of cool antenna or ray gun.

But, I rarely played with my parents unless it was an actual game. Catch, cards, board games, sure. But my parents didn't really try and understand why I was putting loops in my train track or why I would half transform my gobot (because it looked cooler that way dang it!). I had my own mind for that.

Don't get me wrong, I did show them or tell them about the fruits of my labor (Yes, this detached retractable car antenna is an expaning electro sword, which I used to slay robots), but I didn't involve them in my adventures.

Think about how Indianna Jones felt dragging Sean Connery around with him...sure it was fun for us to watch, but it made poor Indy's head explode.