Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Don't Play My People

I had the flu for 6 days and things got pretty boring around here. I even let Janey paint her bedroom. By herself. While I lay feverish in the next room. Seriously. I was that sick. I only crawled out of bed once when I heard, "Ooopsie." But that's a whole post unto itself. While I was out of commission, the girls rediscovered their old stash of Barbies in the attic.

They used to spend hours and hours setting up Barbie houses within Barbie towns within Barbie worlds. I remember one summer a few years ago when I would beg them to come outside to play or to go on a walk with me. They would be so engrossed in their Barbie world they were offended at the thought. It feels like eons ago that the girls played like that together, but they're at it again.
I just had to laugh this morning when Macy called up the stairs to Janey, "Don't play my people!"

I knew what she meant when she said that three years ago at the age of 6. But I was curious how she would explain it now.

Macy: "It means don't talk and act my dolls."
Me: "So, you think that when Janey goes back into the bedroom, she is going to secretly move your Barbies around and have them say things to each other that you might not want them to say?"
Macy: (sheepish grin)"Yeah. She might, you know."
Me: "Oh, I know."

The funny part to me, besides all the other funny parts, is that so little actual dialogue ever ends up taking place. So much of the dramatic play is all about set up and back story. "Let's say your girl just got home from shopping at the mall and she is too tired to do her homework." (curious the way Barbie is always found doing those two things at our house....hmmmm) or, "Let's say this path leads to my girl's best friend's house, and she has a pool." "Mo-om. Can we bring a pan of water into the bedroom?"

All I know is that my kids can do set up and back story all day long. Suddenly, it's time for dinner, and when I ask for some clean up, all I get are grumbles and moans that the playing hasn't even begun yet. I remember a few years ago when our entire living room was taken over by Barbie-ville. A stack of library books had been propped upright at right angles to form an intricate series of cubicles, otherwise known as individual homes. Charley's car track became the roads between the houses. Lamps provided sunlight at the beach and the stack of firewood was the forest.

In the early days of unschooling, I would sit back and watch this play in amazement. If only all kids had unlimited amounts of time to play like this. The creativity was astounding. I had absolutely nothing to do with it. It all came from them. It was so cool. Unfortunately nowdays, Barbie-ville is sequestered to the bedroom. Our house is just too darn small now. But I can still listen in from the hallway.

"Don't play my people!"

1 comment:

Christy said...

My son is really into the set up and backstory too. The "play" seldom begins. That is interesting to read with other kids too.