OC’s biggest compaint is that no one plays with her. She’s in full-time daycare/preschool with 7 other kids, you’d think she’d be GLAD for a little time on her own. If you thought that, you would be wrong. No, she’s much happier playing with others especially if they play what she wants them to play, like any 4-year-old would. Mommy plays with her sometimes, but I’m often busy cooking, cleaning, or some other futile endeavor.
I think it’s good for her to play on her own at least some of the time. That gives her the opportunity to play without having to share, without having to take turns, and allows for time to develop her imagination. You remember imagination... it's that thing we used to access all the time as children, to entertain ourselves? This was before Atari and Colecovision (that’s the stone age equivalent to the X-Box and Playstation, for those of you younger than moi) came along and usurped kid’s attention, time, and added several clothing sizes to their person. Not that there's anything inherently wrong with video games or playing video games: I was just using that as a convenient illustration of what consumes our time in the modern world and thereby takes away from down time, which is what you need for imaginative play to thrive. I could've said anything: tv, computers, whatever. I meant electronics in general where you sit by, passively, while being entertained and also having your ass grow wider than the chair in which you sit. Whereas imagination requires making things up and entertaining yourself, and generally kind of moving about here and there. That was my point. But I digress.
Back to my story: she wanted the Shrek Operation game, (because I let her watch movies which are officially not bad for your imagination or your ass) so we stopped by the toy store one night and bought the last one. I got it loaded with batteries, put all the parts in, and demonstrated the gist of the game. You know how this works, right? Shrek is on the operating table, and he’s in a world of trouble. He’s got all kinds of things wrong with him: Heartburn, chest cold, toe jam, green thumb. All of these problems are plastic pieces located in holes in his body. You are the doctor, and must operate to remove these ailments. First you choose a card which tells you what part you are to extract. With the metal tweezers, you try to reach inside the hole containing the right piece, and pull it out with out touching the sides. The sides are metal, and if you touch them with the tweezers, the nose lights up and it buzzes. You lose your turn. Well, this scared the heck out of OC! It was so funny. She played the game for about 5 minutes before she told me she was done. After this, she went off and made up a game of her own in her room involving Jasmine and Aladdin dolls, and flying carpets or something. I don’t know, I couldn’t follow along because there was no instruction book or flashy graphics. I’ll give her a month, and pull out the Operation game again.
Or better yet, play it with her.
I hear the moral of the story ringing in my ears.