Thursday, November 17, 2011

GoofGirl, Toys and Serious Games

“The problem is, your daughter doesn’t play with toys,” one of GoofGirl’s friend’s mom was explaining when I was trying to set up a playdate.

“Let’s give it a try, I’ll talk to her,” I replied and the mom agreed. Playdates are key, kids entertaining each other are kids that don’t need to be entertained.

“Mi nina, your friend says you don’t play with toys,” I began.

“Daddy, we were going to play with toys. We were going to have a toystore in our game in the last playdate. But we didn’t get to that part. It will be the first thing on our agenda for the next playdate. I made a list,” GoofGirl explained. She runs heavily structured playdates – organizing them well in advance.

But it is true, GoofGirl doesn’t really play with toys. She definitely plays and has a huge imagination. But regular playing with toys is not her thing.

She had a great collection of Little People including a dollhouse, the zoo set and a store. GoofBoy and I played with it all the time – the plot usually involved the dad had gone crazy from watching too much TV and imagined he was the Crocodile Hunter and ran next door to the zoo and tried to wrestle the crocodiles. It was, in great part, an excuse for me to do bad Australian accent.

I only saw GoofGirl play with her little people once. She stood them in a big triangle and then rolled a ball at them to knock them down.

She begged us for a Playmobil Egypt set. So we got it for her. After she put all the stickers on, she played with it once. She put an obelisk on Hello Kitty’s head, turning her into a monster that attacked the Pharaoh’s palace. (Little wonder GoofBoy is having Hello Kitty nightmares.) Apparently she is taking her Jewish education to heart, smiting the Egyptians with a new 11th plague of Japanese animated characters.

She does have hundreds of stuffed animals and they get play-time, although they may regret it. She and a friend will play school – it is a school that focuses on gymnastics and Hebrew. The discipline is very strict, punishments are vengeful, and the reward for good behavior is additional Hebrew lessons. I get exhausted just watching.

Li’l Special Forces
She has started playing with other toys more recently. We have six or seven thousand little bears. Under GoofBoy’s tutelage they are in a state of constant warfare with the Lego people, the Playmobil, and various plastic animals. I think on their own they would all live in peace, but GoofBoy is a warlike deity.
After the OBL raid, GoofGirl became interested in special ops. She took command of a platoon of the little bears and our helicopters. When GoofBoy plays war, he goes right into battle and soon his room is strewn with the corpses of little bears and Lego people. Not GoofGirl, she focused on the training. The little bears had to practice quickly getting into the helicopter and getting out with all their equipment (stolen from the Playmobil pirates.) They did this endlessly. When they finally did it to her satisfaction, she let them have a slumber party in the helicopters. Anyone at SOCOM will tell you this is quite a treat.

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