I suck at playing. There’s just no getting around that. I’ve always sucked at playing, even as a child. It’s one of the drawbacks of being born a hundred years old. Thank goodness I’m aging in reverse, sort of like one version of the Merlin archetype I read about ages ago. Maybe by the time I’m 80 I’ll have figured out how to play. In the mean time, suffering from Creative Play Deficiency Syndrome can present a challenge when you’re raising kids. Especially male kids, who have a completely different play paradigm than female kids (at least that’s my impression). Add to that the fact that all three of our kids have this knack for word games that they inherited from their paternal great grandfather, and I’m pretty much left in the dust play-wise. So, tonight, I faked it.
We just finished watching “Kit Kitridge, American Girl” as a family, and T-Bear was upset about the fathers-leaving-their-families part. The tender heart that he is, he automatically empathizes with story characters, and relates to their challenges and emotional upsets in a very personal way. There’s no way to rationalize him out of these things. The only way to divert him back into his own “here and now” is through humor. Which I suck at. But, as I said, tonight I faked it.
BooBoo Bear decided I needed to read Dr. Seuss’ “The Lorax” (a story that I ADORE) before everyone could go to sleep, so I cracked it open and started in. T-Bear was still upset and needing some nudging to settle in, and I knew logic and discussion were going to be completely useless, so I just started randomly replacing certain words as I read the story. Now, T-Bear technically isn’t “supposed” to be able to “get” word games because of his CAPD, but he does. Not only does he “get” them, he’s pretty skilled at creating them (much better than I am). And, he’s pretty dead-on spotting every word that is out of place in his favorite stories (or songs or poems). So, the first time I replaced “Truffula trees” with “Truffula bushes”, he broke out in hysterical peals of laughter. Thank goodness it doesn’t take much to get him laughing. Then, I started replacing “Thneed” (a very funny word in its own right) with “sock”, and that set all three of the boys off. Of course, if “tree” or “thneed” appears at the end of any line, you automatically have to come up with a rhyming word at the end of the next line. Most of the time I “Seussed” it with some ridiculously irrelevant rhyming word, but any time I couldn’t spontaneously come up with an appropriate rhyming word, I just inserted the word “fart”. That always goes over big with the boys.
It worked. I BS’d my way through another moment of emotional turmoil, turning it into fun and giggling and lovely bonding, and everyone’s asleep. Except me. Still have some e-mail to attend to. But, I don’t mind, because it’s cool enough to have the windows open, and I can hear the crickets and cicades and frogs singing just outside. And, in the early morning, I’ll hear the birds calling for the sun to rise (and, me too, the little bastards). And, if I’m very lucky, we’ll have another very pleasant rain, another surprisingly cool day like today. Lovely.