They become who you give them.
“Can I wear a hat at the dinner table?”
“I’ll let you decide.”
My eldest had developed a game based around Gilligan’s Island, with elements of Swiss Family Robinson. All through the day, the house was different huts and she went out on at least three adventures outside.
She had decided that she was a female Gilligan but even she was unable to resist the power of a fedora. Soon, Gilligan Girl took on a decidedly adventure hero role. I found this odd, because I had been working on a story like this but it ran out of steam.
In this version, it is supposed that, if Gilligan was usually the source of the group’s woe, where would they get with the opposite? Her Gilligan had a bit of the salt to her, tends a ‘sea chest’ full of valuables, and is constantly on the look out for more.
Though the Gilligan Universe had expanded to include our dog, the other characters are strictly regulated. The toddler has been assigned the role of Ginger (total, unashamed typecasting) and I have been awarded the position of Professor. “You’re Skipper,” she shouts happily to Momma as she returns from the store.
I could hear Skipper’s distressed flustering in the driveway, “Nooo! I’m not an old, fat man!” Momma is not a fan of the show, so she does not understand that, beneath that old, fat exterior lies the heart of a leader and that this is one of the highest honors a Gilligan’s Island fan can bestow on another human being.
Gilligan eventually relented to the Professor’s request, and Momma was redesignated as Maryann, which is exactly where Professor had always pictured her, too. (wink-wink)
Eventually, all good things must be peed upon.
Ginger is still wishing to be pampered, and is too prideful to admit that it is not working. She contained her mess to the top of a easily cleanable bin lid, but without a Skipper, Gilligan goes overboard trying to fill his shoes, shouting accusations and orders, leaving Ginger to flee, weeping in shame.
“There’s pee on it!” Gilligan declares in a high the highest state of Drama.
“Just put it in the hamper,” says Maryann. “I’ll take care of it later.”
“I can’t put a bin in the hamper!,” Gilligan shouts incredulously.
Professor just can’t stop laughing. When Skipper Gilligan Girl asks him what’s so funny, he says, “It always ends in someone getting pee on it. You did it. I did it. All of my sisters did it. You clean it up and move on. You don’t make people feel bad about it.”
Professor rewarded the more mellow Gilligan with the secret art of Dowsing, using a piece of jewelry she had stashed in her sea chest. He then spent the rest of the evening refuting Gilligan’s successes, because that’s just what the Professor would do.
I barely nipped Gilligan’s warping into Link from the Legend of Zelda cartoon that Captain Lou would dress up like Mario to show on Fridays in the 80’s. (You remember, “Well, excuuuuuuse me, Princess.”) Confidence I will encourage, but sassing Momma is not tolerated.
Tomorrow, I think I’ll introduce her to Lara Croft.
The ‘Self’ will chose who it wants to be, but will still need help selecting the right path. With a proper model, the story can be warped to shape the need.
I have been using my children as an astrology experiment. I have noted their signs, and occasionally consult Linda Campbell’s Book of Sun Signs. I am not trying to mold events as much as have a road map for the person I am dealing with. As an observational tool, it has been fairly accurate.
It has helped me not only understand others with the same sign, but also not eat my children. Faced with little young people who, due to age and development, cannot understand the meaning of ‘why,’ you’re often times at a loss as to what your child was thinking about during the latest ecsapades. The book isn’t as accurate as a robot schematic, but it has good suggestions. My little Scorpio loves learning things, is very loyal and also has little sympathy for weakness. My little Leo has been turning every cord into a microphone since she could walk, told her first truly funny joke at 2, and will sing at the top of her lungs during adult discussions, while playing an orange guitar, because she cannot stand to lose that spotlight for even one second.
Trying to see the world as a being that cannot ask ‘why’ can be freeing in times of sadness or stress, but it is a difficult state of mind to master. ‘Why’ is our first question, bawling at an unfair universe for not providing to your needs immediately. It is a difficult lesson to unlearn.
My role playing was never encouraged, and I ended up an introvert with social anxiety. I’ll let my daughter play whatever she wants, and maybe I can rebuild myself into the perfect supporting cast.
Your life ceases to be your own when you have children. It is painful to cast off your ego for another, but when you are a parent, you learn on the fly and make it up as you go. We’re all playing the same game, just with different guidebooks.
We’re running a Fundraiser for my wife’s long recovery from brain surgery. There is a Contest of two here: http://silkieville.wordpress.com/