Monday, June 3, 2013

Why Not Dad?

Summer vacation has begun.

We're only two days in, and most of it has been fairly predictable.  Our living room floor looks like a library exploded on it.  I'm perpetually astonished by just how much three children eat all at the same time.  The kids are outside right now because "you can come back in when I'm done writing this post, now get away from that door or so help me I will lock you out!  Again!"

The one slightly jarring note exists during their imaginative play time.  I say that like it's a set time of day:  First we eat a hot, nutritious breakfast that I arose early to prepare, then we practice math drills lest our brains turn to sludge, then we engage in Imaginative Play Time.  (I hope you realize that every single piece of that previous phrase is so ludicrously false that I giggled madly the entire time I typed it.  "Imaginative Play Time" is code for Get Out of This House Before I Kill You All, I refuse to prepare anything more complicated than cereal before 10 am, and math drills?  I don't think I even need to explain the joke in that one.)

In general, Adelaide is in charge of any imaginary play.  If the boys are pretending to eat mushroom stew, it's because Adelaide wanted to play Indians.  If the boys are following her around, yipping, it's because Adelaide wanted to play Dogs (although she did let them choose their own names; Atticus chose Ruffy while Caedmon went for the slightly less conventional Hay Bale), and if Adelaide is sulking it's because the boys found their spines and revolted.

Whatever the game, there's one constant that runs through them all:  At some point, usually toward the beginning, while they're still setting up the basic parameters, one of my three darlings will dramatically turn toward the others and announce, "And let's pretend the Mom's DEAD."

This stipulation is, without fail, met with grisly satisfaction from the two other siblings.  It's also said louder and with more emphasis, almost like they want to be completely sure I hear that one detail, even if I miss everything else.

"Hey, let's pretend we're Indians, and I'm the medicine woman, and you're a warrior, and Caedmon's a papoose."
"And let's pretend the Mom's DEAD."

"Okay, I'm the nice robot, and you're trying to fix me, but we can't find all the right parts."
"And let's pretend the Mom's DEAD."

"Let's all pretend we're cheetahs, and I'm the fastest so I always get all the prey."
"I'm tired of playing that game."
"And our cheetah Mom is DEAD."
"Oh, okay."

I've tried to stuff my ears with feeble explanations like "Well, I'm just such a constant in their lives they can't imagine life without me so the fact that their favorite game is pretending I'm dead is clearly just evidence that our level of familial bonding has reached a new and higher level in the basic hierarchy of human needs."  Which is such a serious crock you'd almost think Freud had come up with it.

Don't worry, though; it may bother me a little bit now, but give me another couple weeks of summer vacation and I'll be begging them to play the "Mommy's Dead" game, so long as they do it outside.


  1. LOL! I think this is probably the direct result of watching any Disney movies. The moms are always dead :-)

    1. No kidding! I wonder what kind of relationship Walt had with his own mother?

  2. This is hilarious. The fact that they say it really loudly so you can hear is the sign that they are baiting you to join their game. Don't give in! Imaginative Play Time Outside Without Mommy is sacrosanct.

    1. I think I'll try and use the word "sacrosanct" today. It's just so fun.


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