My mackerdoodle is a pretty compliant child. We have our discipline issues with her, but generally she falls on the compliant side of the scale. Her brother on the other hand – not so much.
We have four suitcases in our living room that serve as storage for various things, and in the almost six months we’ve lived in this apartment (is it that long already? Only 3 1/2 years to go!) they have rested against the living room wall undisturbed. The mackerdoodle did not even consider moving them or doing anything more than choosing a movie from the one containing kids movies. That is, until the end of last week, when the cheesedoodle pushed the kid movie case out from the wall and hid behind it. The mackerdoodle watched him do it, and watched our (non) response. Suddenly it was open season on suitcase play.
The first “game” was an expansion of her brother’s original idea, but instead of hiding behind one case, she built a little fortress with all four cases. Jonathan put a blanket on the top as a roof and she was in there for HOURS.
When she tired of that, she removed the blanket and lined the cases up with the two big ones on each end, and the smaller ones making steps inside. It was a train, and that was a hit with both kids. The cheesedoodle would stand on the smallest case and peek out over the front case, like a driver, while his sister perched on the rear case with her feet on the middle case, and performed the role of passenger to perfection. The driver, being only 18 months old, had a habit of getting down from the train, running around it in laughter, and getting back on, but the passenger didn’t seem to mind the delay.
They played train for two days, and then it was time for something new. This time the mackerdoodle asked for my help to put the two largest cases flat on the floor and stand the medium case on its side. She then grabbed a toy mallet from the play room and stood on the large cases, behind the smaller one, with the hammer in her hand like a microphone, and said, “Welcome to church. Let’s all sing a song.” She sang into that hammer with great gusto, “Let’s all celebrate God! Let’s all celebrate God,” while her brother stood in front of her, holding my small red leather ESV, “singing” along in his own wordless, but no less enthusiastic, way. They sang “This is the day” and “Holy, Holy, Holy,” and several more verses of the celebrate God mackerdoodle original until lunchtime.
That evening I put the cases back where they belonged and they stayed there for a day, but on Saturday the two kids got the urge to play again. This time she pushed the kid movie case out from the wall, like her brother had done almost a week earlier, but she moved the medium case in behind it. She fetched a carved wooden Mallard duck from a shelf in the living room, and placed it on the larger case. She proceeded to sit on top of the medium case, and say, in a clear, strong voice, “Thank you for coming. Today we will be talking about ducks.” Which she did. For a full twenty minutes, although not all of it was entirely factual. Her brother sat on the floor in front of her “podium”, coloring and periodically adding his own seemingly agreeing grunts. Or maybe quacks?
It has been a very entertaining week in the kid department. I am left wondering what the rest of my life will look like, with a kid who, at three, delivers a nature lecture for entertainment, and an 18 month old who wanted to eat all of his meals standing at his post on the “train.” Every time I thought about it, the snickerdoodle would prod me as if to say, “and don’t forget me. I’ll be an unknown variable!” Which, of course, she will.