|Birdie exploring the yard|
The way my kids play-- or don't play-- with other children makes everyone else in the 'hood nervous. With Princess and Birdie, you can count on lots of scowling and shouting and very little sharing and sportsmanship... Unless, of course, by sportsmanship, you mean that they are going to win. Then there is lots of sportsmanship-- right up until it becomes unsportsmanlike gloating.
Let's start with those rare occasions when Birdie tries to play group games with other kids in our neighborhood. (Betcha noticed the very conspicuous absence of Princess's name here. If I included her in this part of my tale, it would be fiction-- Princess doesn't do group anything voluntarily! I have tried to press the issue once or twice, but always backed off when I realized the welfare of others was at stake. Getting sued over a game of Duck Duck Goose ain't worth it, y'all.) That brings me to tag-- oh, how I hate thee, let me count the ways! Tag is a problem. A very big, ugly, noisy problem. Everything about tag is contrary to everything my girls find fun. There is running and chasing and touching involved-- OMG, why does Birdie keep saying yes to this game?!! In five years, I can count on one finger how many times that game has ended without tears! One finger! Birdie always gets tagged and never does any tagging of her own, and thus the crying and complaints of injustice. "Tag with bases is dumb! The bases are for kids too lazy or dumb to win tag without them!!" I'm sure the bases would be less "dumb" if my darling ever made it to said bases.
As bad as tag is, it is much less painful to watch than when Birdie tries to explain her own game to the neighbors. She sooooo badly wants the kids in the 'hood to play the game she made up called "Where in the World Will That Punk Go?" Huh?-- Don't worry, that was my first reaction, too. Her objective is to spot "suspicious people" she doesn't recognize (aka punks) and try to guess where they are going. Her standard response is usually jail. Or they are on their way to perform some nefarious act that will then result in jail. You have to try to figure out the destination by the way the "punk" looks and then tell how you know. (ex. He is going to write graffiti on the overpass. You can tell because he has paint on his shoes and since he's not in school he's probably a bad speller like graffiti-ers.) The responses from other kids range from scared to WTH? The neighborhood friends try to politely decline, but they are all 1st and 2nd graders, so their responses to her offer just sound like a freaked out "NO!" I can't imagine why the other kids aren't clamoring to join the fun.
|Birdie's pet dino-- her escort for many months|
|P can catch.|
|P can throw.|
|Princess caught on film moments before the poor child|
behind her got the "no touching" lesson
Recently, Birdie has really been scaring the living bejeepers out of my neighbors and my friends. She likes to play alone in the yard, running and yelling, and acting out scenes from her Pokemon battles. That by itself makes most people wonder about her mental stability. Add to that the fact that, now, when someone comes up to say hi, she will yell out something strange and scary like "NOOOOO, JACK THE RIPPER!! DON'T BITE HER!!" and pretend to be racing toward something just behind the person approaching. (I hate to admit how funny it is to watch these people jump out of their skin, but it is hilarious! And I'm talking our definition of hilarious. I am pretty sure one of my neighbors had to go change their Depends after their little encounter with Jack the Ripper.) After their mild heart attack, Birdie introduces the
Regardless of her imaginary play, Birdie does find success playing outside with the neighbors when she leads a treasure hunt or shows the other kids how to build a bird nest or plant a seed. These activities are in her area of expertise. All of the goofiness and weirdness she displays during tag and "Punk", or when playing pretend, melt away during these activities and then she's just a geeky kid enjoying some geeky fun.
|Miss Safetypants, getting wild and |
crazy without her helmet
|Love my EZ Roller scooter!|
|Princess, ready to play Come Back,|
For now, I will be happy that we are making progress. When we first arrived here five years ago, my darlings would run for the front door, begging to go in whenever the neighbors came out to play. These days, Birdie runs to greet her neighbor friends, while Princess keeps plugging away at whatever she is doing. The fact that P no longer needs to immediately dodge the other kids is such a relief! Now, if only I could convince Birdie to cage up that damn Rottweiler and stop scaring everyone, we may get to see continued progress in the future.