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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Every Lady is Pretty

This morning we had guests, including two little boys. I brought out the guest toys. Guest toys are the kind that don't belong to either of my children, but that guests are allowed to play with. I don't force my kids to share their toys. If something belongs to them, they get to decide if they want another child to play with it or not. But the guest toys belong to me alone. I can let guests play with them without violating anyone's property rights.

My chief guest toy consists of a little plastic jeep and two dolls sitting in it. For whoever likes cars, the jeep itself with its rolling wheels should be enough. For whoever likes make believe, the dolls are an additional enticement. One of the boys suggested I let Bow play with the toys, too. These are not the kinds of toys Bow usually plays with, but I asked Bow if he wanted to play with  them, and he spelled: "Yes." It was the only thing he had said all morning, ever since the guests arrived. So I let him play with the jeep and the two dolls, and he played pretty rough, banging the jeep up and down harshly, undressing the dolls, and banging them against the floor. However, everything was still intact by the time I took the toys away for lunch. By then, the guests had gone.

After lunch, Bow spelled: "Give me a wife."

"I don't have a wife to give you, Bow." This is the recurring refrain between us.

He spelled again: "Give me a toy wife."

"You want a doll?  Which one?"

"A pretty  one."

"Which one is pretty?" I asked. One of the dolls was a Barbie with flowing hair and a hot pink evening gown. The other was a modeling dummy with grey skin, no hair and dressed in a sock.

Bow spelled: "Every lady is pretty."

Flattery goes a long way. I let him play with the modeling dummy, while I cleared away the dishes. Then, before I was done, he tore her head off. Bow can be so sweet,  but it's good to remember that there are clear limits to how far we can trust him.

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