Monday, January 10, 2011

All in How You See It

Joshua had a friend come home from preschool with him today. I reminded the boys, as we came in and started to take out coats off, that they were not to exclude Anna from their playtime - Anna was to be included.

A few minutes later, the two boys were running through the house screaming "AAAHHH!! ANNA'S THE MONSTER!! AAHHH!!"

Pretty soon I heard Anna sniffling and saying "I'm not a monster! I'm NICE!"

"Hold it!" I called out, putting a stop to the game. "Boys, that's not what I meant when I said to let Anna play with you."

"But MOM," Joshua said, rolling his eyes and using his "mom is so dumb" voice, "we MADE her the MONSTER."

(Insert "what more do you want from us, lady?" here, because although he was smart enough not to say it, I'm sure that's what he was thinking.)

"Ok, but she doesn't want to be the monster. She doesn't like it."

The two boys looked at each other, confused. Now what would they do?

As I saw Matthew sitting there on the floor, oblivious, I suggested he be the monster - after all, he didn't care.

The boys looked down at Matthew, considered this option, and then began yelling "AAAHHHH!! MATTHEW IS THE MONSTER!!"

Crisis averted.

Now, this would have been the end of the story. To me, as a mom and a girl, the boys were being kind of obnoxious. I told them they had to let Anna play, so they found a spot for her - the least desirable spot, the villain in their play. After all, someone had to be the monster, otherwise who would you run from?

However, in relating this story to my brother, he pointed out the following:

"In the boy world, being the monster can be seen as an honor. You get to chase."

Hmmm. I hadn't thought of it that way. Perhaps they were giving her a good position in the pretend world. Maybe to them, it solved all their problems - Anna could have fun chasing, and they could have fun conspiring together on how to beat the monster. To Anna, it was just insulting - after all, monsters are MEAN and she NICE! To me, the boys were just trying to do the bare minimum of what I'd told them to do while still finding a way to exclude "the girl."

And to Matthew, of course, none of it mattered as long as there was excitement and someone gave him food on occasion.

It's all in how you see it.