Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Building blocks

Eric over at Square Zero takes a look at gender roles and how his 5 daughters and 1 son are different in their play. Now I have been blessed with 1 girl and 5 boys, so it is quite the opposite for me. Their isn't much "quiet" time in our house until the lights are out and I am well into my glass of Pinot Noir.

Square Zero: Boys and Girls at Play
That, it seems to me, is the way a father ought to relate to his daughters play—not to attempt to re-engineer it (by the way, a distinctly masculine notion to begin with), but simply to appreciate and enjoy it for what it naturally is.
And that is, come to think of it, the proper orientation to everything.
With boys, the gist is the same. I am often frustrated with my boys being boys. They are loud, one can't play any game with others without screaming and there is always seems to be an eventual injury. Mostly it is frustrating when I try to hold a conversation with my wife when I get home.

However, I let them know that if they want to play that way, they have to take it outside or downstairs. And as most veteran parents can attest, I don't jump at the first sound of crying or the bellow of an injured participant. They play rough, they take the punishment, that is how I see it.

It always amazes me how the boys will be attracted to whatever task I am doing. Something as simple as mowing the lawn will attract one or two on different occasions. One wants to pull start the mower each time, another just studies how it all works as I trudge back and forth. And just let me start building something, they come in force.

This Saturday, I was working on some props for my daughters Lord of the Rings birthday party. Nothing too fancy, but the playset became Helm's Deep with banners, swords and other weapons they had built; even Gimli's axe. A simple siege engine and a catapult adorned one corner of the yard and the trampoline became Mt. Doom. I think building it was more fun than the actual party and acting it out for my boys. They pitched right in hauling logs and bringing rocks for the catapult.

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