Portrait of Play, Week 37


Charlotte is coming into the directing phase(?) of her childhood. Call it bossy, being the oldest sibling, leadership, whatever positive spin you want to give it, but I’m going to call it directing. There’s a lot of pointing, escorting, and urgency to her directions. We were on our way home from the beach, and Charlotte directed us all in a game that we played for much longer than was considered fun. “Daddy, you say beach.” “Beach.” “Mommy, you say sand.” “Sand.” I’ll say Ocean. Ocean. Now Daddy, you say sky…” and on went the word association until we said we were done. Of course I want my daughter to have a take charge attitude, but I also want her to consider others. When I noticed her directing her friend Joaquin, I decided to pay attention.

Joaquin is two, and I’ve watched him more than a handful of times at our house. He’s very verbal and sweet and goes with the flow. They had been playing a variation of “Mommies.” Anytime there are baby dolls involved in play it’s called “Mommies” at our house. I used to call that play “Next Door Neighbors,” but I think it’s most traditionally known as playing “House.” They each had a tool kit and went to work. Charlotte was building the table, and Joaquin was building the chair. They also fixed a number of toys. Both of their dads work building things, so it’s really no surprise that they incorporated tools into their play. Charlotte went back and forth between being the mom and the big sister, and after work, she directed them to go to her ballet lesson which involved a costume change. I was told go to the couch to watch, and Joaquin was given a chair to sit in. After the lessons, Charlotte lined up the extra car seats we had in the living room. She was showing Joaquin which one was his and was trying to get him buckled in. He said, “I buckle it,” and she let him. Charlotte was clapping her hands to get people to do things and calling out Joaquin’s name (to which he politely ignored when he wasn’t interested). I reminded Charlotte to ask him if he wants to do something rather than demanding and made a mental note to pay more attention to the tone I am using with Charlotte when I am trying to get her to do something that she doesn’t want to do. Once they were all buckled in, they were on their way to the airport to pick me up. I got called on the phone, “Mommy did you already yand (land)?” When they got me, Joaquin exclaimed, “We made it. We made it to the airport.” Charlotte says, “How about you use this chair?” (that’s progress) and pulls a chair up for me to get into the car. We made it home, and they went riding horses. They found something to be a horse for everyone. Winnie woke up, so I went to get her just as they were making beds to go to sleep. Less than 5 minutes later I hear, “It’s morning time.” They were up going about their day, taking care of their babies, going to work. “We’re going to make pizza dough today,” and potholders became pizzas that got rolled out and put in the oven. It was someone’s birthday, and there was more getting in and out of the car before I had to bring them back to the the reality that they needed to eat some real food.



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