It’s Not All Mary Poppins

The games we play

… are not quite the games as they are normally played.

Daniel is big into Ring around a Rosy these day, or, as he prefers to term it, “Hush-a! Hush-a! Hush-a!” With that as his rallying cry, he gathers the others around him. If I’m part of the group, holding hands in the circle, the game looks reasonably standard. I perform a number of Very Useful Functions in games of Ring Around A Rosy, including (but not limited to):

1. Singing the song. (There are more to the lyrics than “Hush-a!”, much to Daniel’s surprise.)
2. Keeping the circle as a circle. (“Hold Rory’s hand, Poppy. Hold on. Don’t let go. Atta girl.”)
3. Keeping the circle moving in a circular motion.
4. Keeping everyone upright until we “All Fall DOOOOOOOWWWWN!”
5. Encouraging everyone to get up, hold hands again, and start over.

If I’m not part of the game, but am only singing the song… Why do I sing? Well, I’ve found it useful to, you know, remind them of why they’re standing in a circle holding hands. If I don’t sing, they tend to forget, and a number of things happen.

1. Poppy forgets, drops hands and wanders off.
2. Jazz forgets and gets offended that someone is HOLDING HER HAND!!! “Why are you holding my hand? It’s MY hand! I can’t move my hand!!!” She tries wildly and angrily to get them to LET GO!!! (Huh. Writing this, I realize I should put her next to Poppy. Seems to me they have complimentary interests.)
3. Rory doesn’t forget, but gets upset that the others are NOT PLAYING RIGHT.
4. Daniel continues to hold hands in a grip like a vice, beams at all and sundry, and continues with the mantra. “Hush-a! Hush-a!”
5. Grace drops hands and stands still, watching the bedlam around her with wide eyes.

It devolves into chaos, is what I’m saying. Of course it does. Five toddlers? A structured, cooperative game? No adult assistance? Could you expect anything different??

So. Even if I’m not actively playing with them, I sing along. Which keeps it relatively game-like, and less bedlam-ish.

Because Ring Around a Rosy, as anyone with toddlers can tell you, is a WILDLY EXCITING GAME!!! It is not the singing, though that is fun. It is not the holding hands (which is a bit of a pain and a nuisance, frankly, to most toddlers). It is not the moving in a circle (challenging, but fun). No! It is the SUSPENSE!

Ring Around a Rosy, people, is a game of TENSION and SUSPENSE.

You gather round, you form a blob circle, you hold hands with your friends, you start to sing and shuffle around and around, “Hush-a! Hush-a!” (Not yet, Daniel.) and all the while you do this, you know what’s coming. “Hush-a! Hush-a!” (Not yet, Daniel.) You know what’s coming… that moment of peak excitement… you know it’s coming, “Hush-a! Hush-a!” (Not yet, Daniel.) and you can hardly wait!!! As you gather, hold hands, shuffle and sing, the suspense is intense, and builds to near-unbearable level of excitement as you approach that defining moment…

“Hush-a! Hush-a! We ALL! FALL! DOOOOWWWNNN!!!!!

Oh.
My.
Go–ooodness.

It just does not GET any more exciting.

Toddlers, as we well know, are not big into “deferred gratification”. If something is good, they WANT IT NOW. All of it. Right away.

So, without an adult propping this game up and moving it along to its climax, you get a seething mass of toddlers. Some might be holding hands, some might be shuffling in a sort of circle, some might be singing bits of the song, but they are ALL FALLING DOWN ALL THE TIME.

Let’s all hold han– FALL DOWN!!! — make a circ — FALL DOWN!!! — sing the “Ring arou — FALL DOWN!!!!” — Hush-a! Hus– FAAAAAAAALLLLLL DOWWWWWNNNNN!!!

It would be more efficient just to line them up and shove them over, I swear.

Efficient, perhaps, but far less fun.

FALL DOWN!!!

gigglegigglegigglegigglegigglegigglegigglegigglegigglegigglegigglegiggle
gigglegigglegigglegigglegigglegigglegiggle

🙂

November 3, 2011 Posted by | Developmental stuff | , , , , , | 13 Comments

Halloween Candy

What a lot of good ideas you all had! Turns out most of you are Rationers to one degree or another. Rationers with a side of Hoarders, Rationers who Hide some but not all.

I rather like the new option you provided me, which I’m calling the Traders. I see Anastasia and Bethany’s objection to the “Halloween Fairy” — do we really need another layer of cutesy pretense and complication? — but I do like the idea of giving kids the option of trading in all or part of their candy for a gift. Maybe your child would honestly prefer a new Lego accessory or a couple of books instead of the extra eight pounds of candy. What a good option!

Another terrific idea: Turning the chocolate into a fondu! An idea the whole family can enjoy. Heck, you could throw a party. That way, the chocolate gets shared among many, instead of consumed by one or two, it is eaten with healthy fruit, and becomes a social event for the whole family. A really good option. I suspect gummi worms would not work for this project.

Like Kristy, I’m bemused by all the children who get bored by candy. In my years of daycare and parenting, I’ve only known one child who didn’t have a sweet tooth. Every other kid I’ve known? Would happily devour the entire Halloween bag in a couple of days to a week, given the opportunity.

There’s only one true Glutton in the list, the person who lets the child eat the entire bag, at the pace of their choosing.

And me? I was of the Glutton camp. I understand — and approve of! — the value of teaching a child the skills of impulse control and moderation. However, if the result of that is candy every day? For months on end? That’s not a lesson I wanted to teach my kids, either. Candy is not something you get every day. It’s an occasional treat.

Now, I could have controlled that, too. I could have put the candy aside and let them have some a day or two a week. But that would have been our treats for the entire year. I’d rather some of our treats be a trip to the ice cream store, or dessert after dinner. (We have dessert in our home maybe once a month. Maybe. Sweets are occasional treats.) I didn’t want to be monitoring that damned bag for the entire year.

So, the combined result of principle and laziness … a total Halloween glut. My kids (as I did as a child) came home, dumped their bags out on the living room floor, and together, the three of them, sorted, traded, bartered. And yes, tossed. There were some things that all three of them agreed were gross.

Mum got her share, too, of course. (Chips! Doritos!) Some were set aside for Christmas stockings. And the rest? They took their bags to their rooms, and I ignored them. About a week later, I’d go into their rooms and clean up the wrappers, etc. And yes, for that week, we were especially diligent about pre-bed tooth-brushing!

And so, within a week, it was done. Over. Until next year.

It’s not a solution that everyone would choose, and that’s fine, of course. I’m not telling anyone how they should do it, just telling you how I did it. The result for my kids is young adults who are at a good weight for their height and build, and who eat well and healthfully… and who indulge in treats on occasion. Could you get that result with another approach? Of course! One abberant night in a year does not make a pattern. It’s the consistent lessons and patterns of the other, normal 364 days that teach and train!

November 1, 2011 Posted by | food, health and safety, holidays | , , , , , , | 5 Comments