Tuesday, February 24, 2009

We're getting old

Recently Megan and I have been using Netflix to make our way through old television shows that either we missed or couldn't watch because they were on channels we didn't subscribe to. We've loved Rome, The Wire, and Arrested Development that way, and I had heard good things about Freaks and Geeks. We watched it last week. It's a great blast from the past with stylin' clothes, bitchin' cars, and a treasure trove of nerdiness. A "geek" was showing off his Dungeons and Dragons Monster Manual and I had to admit that I not only had that as a kid, but I could probably dig it up now if I wanted to. One would think that while watching a show about a high school set in 1980 we would identify with the kids. But Megan and I came to the disturbing conclusion early on that we identified more with the parents in the show than with the kids. Part of the reason is the parents were well developed in the show and not just caricatures of clueless or repressive adults. They were a little bit clueless and were a touch repressive, but they were also extremely concerned about their children. Their love showed through wanting to keep their children young and safe.

It seems that once you have a child, once you take on the enormous responsibility of his or her safety and development, your entire perspective changes. I don't even remember paying attention to the parents in movies and shows when I was younger. Suddenly, their concerns and fears are mine. On Friday nights, when the kids want to go out and do something - anything to get out of the house, whether it's driving aimlessly or watching Dukes of Hazzard with friends - the parents suggest a nice board game. It got me thinking that in the not too distant future, Megan and I will be most uncool people in our daughters' lives and as much as we want them to stay home and play board games with us, they will beg us to let them go.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Rules of Make-Believe

...are too hard for me to understand or follow. The minds of three and four year olds are at the same time beginning to understand the world around them and project their own ideas and fantasies onto that world. It's funny to watch them try to force their will onto reality when we're playing games. When playing Candy Land, Clara will pick through the cards until she finds one that moves her the furthest. When playing war with Nana, Clara waits until Nana puts her card down before flipping through her own deck to find a superior card. We're working on that.

It's amazing kids can separate make-believe from reality when we are constantly injecting make-believe into their realities. Santa Claus brings their presents. The Tooth Fairy rewards them for losing their teeth. And pirates are friendly, like this guy:

That's Redbeard, a pirate that the girls met while visiting their friends Nathan and Simon in Florida last week. Kate looks like she's growling at him or saying, "Aaaaarrrrr!" While on the beach with them, or in St. Pete with Nana and Papa, the girls were constantly slipping into make-believe, pretending to be, at various times, dinosaurs, princesses, dolphins, and eels, among other things. It's quite funny to watch this from a distance, especially when the girls decided to be the ugly stepsisters for some reason. But when they involve me in their make-believe, I am hopelessly inept at keeping up with their reasoning. They have no problem keeping up with each other, but I keep getting things wrong.

Kate's birthday was February 3rd, and one of her favorite presents was a toy coffee maker from Grandma. She loved pretending to make coffee and brought me her creations. I pretended that the empty cup she gave me was coffee and proceeded to drink it. Her response? "Daddy, that cup is empty." OK. "But I thought you brought me coffee?" "I drank it." "You drank it?" "Yeah," she said, as if it was totally obvious. Sometimes they announce that I am the king, but when I try to command them to do something, I see it's really just a ceremonial position. As I watch them make their way through their days, I'm starting to think "Dad" might be slipping slowing into a ceremonial position as well.

(When I collect the pictures from our Florida trip, I'll post them here. Thanks to Nikki Lemkemeier for the pirate picture above.)