Yesterday my eight year old gleefully told me he was going to break the rules. He was going to draw inside the 45 triangle he was using to do his geometry work despite the fact the workbook says that is forbidden!! oooh, the horror!
Obviously there is disobedience and there is disobedience and I actually like to encourage the silly harmless forms of disobedience. His playfulness yesterday reminded me of some of the games we’ve played over the years. Here are two of the kid’s favorites:
The Go-Away Game
This one is a bit embarrassing to play in public, but we do it anyway because the kids love it. I stand and push them on the swings, but as I push I tell them to go away, get lost, scram, leave me alone, and every other bit of rejecting nonsense I can think of. I complain that they keep coming back. I say I’m too busy, and I don’t want to play. I demand that they obey me at once. I keep pushing them away only to have the swing bring them right back to me giggling like crazy. Eventually they end the game by telling me that of course they keep coming back, they’re on a swing and that is how a swing works. I pretend I didn’t know. They like it when I act dumb.
Occasionally the kids ask me to switch and play the “don’t go away game” and sometimes I’ll decide to switch to that game. Instead of telling the kids to go away, I’ll start demanding they come and stay with me. I’ll cry and fuss and whine and pretend I don’t understand why they keep leaving me.
Call Me Anything, but Don’t Call Me a Pineapple
The kids get tempted sometimes to call someone a name, and sometimes they give into the temptation. If they’re talking to someone not-in-the family or if the name is done in a hurtful way, we obviously have to deal with it. But there’s a certain level of name-calling that is playing with power and disobedience, which can be turned into a joking collective game.
I’ll tell them they can say whatever it is they said (thus taking away the power of it), they just can’t say I’m a pineapple. Insantly I’ll be called a pineapple. I might pretend cry in response or I might just move onto saying, well, I guess they can call me that, but they had better not call me… a fuzzy moldy pineapple or a tiny abominable snowman. We go on, giggling, suggesting silly things we shouldn’t call each other and then calling each other them.