Monday, January 5, 2009

A Day's Work




I've heard that that there are parents of rather dull children who believe (all evidence to the contrary) that their children are imaginative and clever. My children actually are. The 7yo draws and builds and makes things, and develops elaborate games built around carefully constructed scenarios, always retaining his own persona. He's a second grade deus ex machina, contriving and controlling the actions of all of his imagined characters. It's his world, they just live in it. 4yo, however, assumes a role, and remains in character, sometimes for entire days. His preschool teachers were highly amused during the three-day period at the end of last summer during which he insisted on being addressed as "Master Yoda", remaining crouched at all times over a walking stick he'd made from Tinkertoys. Currently, his interest is in animals. Most evenings, he decides to be a puppy, or a cat, or (after a zoo visit) a panda. During his panda phase, he referred to all of his meals as "bamboo", and instructed me to close his cage door when I put him in bed. I could only hope that he wouldn't tell anyone about how his mother locks his cage at night.

Sometimes these two personalities mesh very well. 4yo loves the elaborate schemes and ideas that his brother concocts, and 7yo is usually quite willing to indulge his little brother by pretending to pet him when he's a dog, or by addressing him as "Master" when he's Yoda. Sometimes, though, one or the other of them will fail to observe the conventions, and conflict is the inevitable result. A heated discussion occured one night last week, as 7yo explained that a Lego figure was going to work, and that traffic on the road that he'd built from wooden blocks (enhanced with hand-drawn black and yellow lines) was horrific; another route would be necessary. 4yo grabbed another Lego figure and said that he was ALSO going to work, and he was going to get in the Millenium Falcon and fly to his job and...

"No! No! This isn't space! They can't fly! They don't have spaceships!"

4yo persisted, explaining how his guy was going to fix the droids when he got to work. 7yo, exasperated, tried again. "There can't BE any droids! This is just regular! He's just a regular guy, he doesn't have any droids!" A few minutes of back and forth ensued; it didn't sound like a conclusive resolution had been reached. These discussions are frequent, and sometimes matters of style, rather than substance, are at issue. "Oh shoot", said 7yo, as one of his buildings collapsed.

"Don't say 'oh shit!'", said 4yo. "We're not allowed to say 'oh shit!'"

"I didn't say 'oh shit!' I said 'oh shoot'!"

"It sounded like 'oh shit!' We're not allowed to say that."

"You're saying it."

"NO, I'm NOT! I'm saying NOT to say it! I'm not SAYING it!"

There's all the difference in the world, isn't there? If you say it in the cause of urging others not to say it, it doesn't count as saying it. The disagreement continued, now back to more substantial matters, as the 4yo decided that he couldn't be limited to earthbound nine to five. His guy rode the Millenium Falcon to his droid-fixing shop. 7yo's guy fought Beltway traffic in his Camry on his way to his job with a defense contractor. I just listened from the kitchen






19 comments:

Miss Kate said...

Again, I love stories about your kids.

When my nephew was about 3 or 4, he told me "Aunt Tatie, we don't thay 'ha ha', 'nana nana boo boo', 'thut up' or 'poopy lipth' or we get thoap in our mouth. So don't say 'poopy lipth', okay? 'Cause we can't say 'poopy lipth'." It seems my nephew and your son were on the exact same wavelength.

susan said...

They are a pair of extremely cool looking little men. I had one once too and I love the memories you evoke.

Vegetable Assassin said...

Dude. You know who they get it from, right?

Your kids are hilarious. And smart. And I suspect they know it too.

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

Best kids ever. They both remind me of me when I was their ages.

3carnations said...

They're very cute.

My husband has the weird habit of cutting up cookies when he eats them so he doesn't gobble them down. Our son and I think this habit is weird and unnecessary. We had donut holes for dessert yesterday, and as hubby cut his up, my son informed him that "they aren't as flavorful when you do that". I agree. The yummy glaze gets all spread out and you can't taste it. It sounded better coming from him.

Matty Boy said...

I pretended I was different animals when I was a little kid, too.

dguzman said...

I would have such a hard time leaving these guys alone for even a minute--I'd be too afraid to miss something even more hilarious and ingenius than the last hilarious and ingenius thing they did.

Also--4yo is now officially my role model. I too refuse to "be limited to earthbound nine to five." Revolution, baby!

Sauntering Soul said...

OMG! I can't decide which your kids excel at most: being cute or being hysterical.

Stephanie said...

Oh my, that is just FANTASTIC! Also, oddly familiar... hmmm...

CDP said...

Miss Kate--that's hilarious. Yes, my 4 year old frequently reminds people what they're not s'posed to say.

Susan--they are, aren't they? Thanks!

VA--well, thank you, madam. They do crack me up every day.

Dr. M--I bet you were very much like my 7 year old.

3carn--I know, it's so funny when they repeat what you often say, in the same way.

Matty--That's his current favorite thing to do.

Dguzman--Both of them have a streak of revolutionary in them!

SS--I know, me too, even though I'm their mother and saying so makes me officially insufferable.

Stephanie--Don't you love when you overhear their conversations when they think you're nowhere to be found?

MichaƩle said...

OMG, you have the cutest kids on the planet. I can honestly say that because mine are no longer "kids" but teenagers...a difference of increasing magnitude everyday! Happy New Year to you!

pistols at dawn said...

The droid shop? Don't let those kids enter the workforce until I get a shot at a decent paying job for a few years first.

CDP said...

Michaele--thanks, you too!

Pistols--the droid shop is accepting applications, but you'd be reporting to my four year old. Can you work under a highly authoritarian management style?

BeckEye said...

I've been thinking about this for a while, but have never acted on it, but this post clinches it. I'm stealing your children.

Lisa said...

Clever parents, clever children. Those boys are adorable, but it's what they say that makes them so remarkable! I can imagine you spend a lot of time trying to keep them from seeing you laugh at what they say.

CDP said...

Beckeye--You can't have them, but I might let you borrow one every so often

Lisa--The kitchen is right next to the family room, where they usually hang out, and it's amazing what I overhear.

Freida of the Bees said...

CDP--- I love this. My 9 year-old son's retort the other day (which I used as blog fodder, of course), "I will. I will. I just have to go look at my Medusa one more time."

"Nooooo!"

enc said...

Your kids are very sophisticated for their ages. They synthesize complex problems! For example, "sh!t" v. "shoot." I love that.

enc said...

And they're cute, too.

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