My son long played these terrific games within games. But GoofGirl didn’t. I wasn’t worried. She is a super-smart, funny, clever girl who draws elaborate pictures and tells funny stories. She may in fact be playing very creative games – but saving it for her friends.
Still, I was pleasantly surprised on a recent Saturday afternoon when GoofGirl told me to pretend I was Barack Obama. We try to keep the Jewish Sabbath which restricts possible activities tremendously – no TV, computers, or driving anywhere – so summer Saturdays get looooong and Mama Goof was taking a well-deserved and much needed nap, so anything to kill some time and buy her some peace.
She wanted me to pretend to be the President, visit her room and bring my family (not my real family, but Sasha and Malia).
My son got into the act as my Secret Service agent. He loaded up his Nerf pistols and put on his Nerf vest, like a bulletproof vest.
(Quick digression, I remember some pretty weak Nerf weapons as a kid that broke, jammed and had no range – his are really cool, have real punch and are tons of fun. We’ve spent hours chasing each other around the house with them. I confess, that just as I enjoyed throwing Nerf balls at his head when he was two, I really like plugging him with Nerf darts execution style.)
We went up to my daughter’s room, he knocked on the door and she told us to come in. My son did a quick sweep looking for assassins and announced in his deep serious voice: “Ladies and gentleman: the President of the United States.”
My daughter and son stood and I entered the room. I tried to channel SNL’s Fred Armison imitating Barack Obama as I introduced the first family and told my daughter what a lovely home she had. My daughter played with the imaginary first daughters while my son looked around nervously and tapped his pretend earpiece.
Then my daughter dismissed the first family and told me to stay (I didn’t want to be all pedantic and tell her that one did not tell presidents what to do.) She ran downstairs grabbed some newspaper, pointed to an article and told me I had to read it. (She can’t read yet.)
“I am very busy being the President – can you tell me what it says,” I asked.
“Yes, the person who wrote this article is a robber. He steals things, but he is also a writer and he writes that you are the robber and people believe him. You need to stop him,” she explained earnestly – she seems to think rather highly of the capabilities of writers.
“Well, what do you suggest we do about this?” I asked, still trying to sound presidential.
“We need to stop him because he is making people think you are a robber.”
“How should we do this, can we take pictures of him stealing things?” I proposed.
“I could shoot him!” my son/bodyguard interjected.
“We can’t take pictures of him – he’s too sneaky,” my daughter said.
“Well, what if we tell him there is something extra valuable at the museum. We know he’ll try to steal it and then we can catch him.”
The little Goofs liked this plan. So I sent my son/bodyguard to inform my staff to issue a press release.
The little Goofs escorted me to the museum (downstairs in our living room) and prepared to catch the robbers.
Then it gets weird
At this point, since I was still the President, I couldn’t help fight the robbers because Presidents can’t get hurt (my kids know that vice presidents are not to be trusted). So I sat in the corner and may have fallen asleep while my kids karate-chopped imaginary thieves.
I awoke with a start.
“The truth is, I’m an alien,” I heard my daughter explain.
“Me too, we are both aliens,” GoofBoy added.
“Are we still in the same game, am I still President?” I asked.
“Yes Mr. President, and you need to come with us to Mars,” GoofGirl ordered.
“OK. What do you eat on Mars?”
“Cookies, pizza, whatever you like – just like on earth, but better.”
“What do you do for fun on Mars?”
“Well,” Martian GoofGirl began, “We have swimming pools, and playgrounds, and Hello Kitty.”
“Allright, let’s go!”
My son piloted the spaceship and my daughter held my hand so I wouldn’t get scared on the long spaceship ride. We got to Mars, which looked a great deal like our kitchen. Sure enough, we found cookies.
“Congratulations, you are the first earthperson to visit Mars,” GoofGirl announced.
“Wow, but you said you had Hello Kitty and that’s from earth?” I queried.
“No, Hello Kitty is from Mars, we send it to earth,” my daughter explained patiently.
That seems plausible.
My wife came downstairs, yawning and stretching.
“Did you sleep well,” I asked.
“Okay,” Mama Goof replied.
“Well, I’m wiped. While you were out, I had to fight robbers and go to Mars.”
In our house, this is not unusual.