"Mom, will you play sholdiers wiff me?"
How do I say no to the sweetest boy there is, who's the only boy all day in a house full of girls? My poor little buddy.
I had the joy of watching boys at play my whole life. They have loads of fun. I got to be sandwiched right in the middle of it. Our household toys were Transformers, G.I. Joes and Star Wars "guys". I was well-versed in Muscle Men and Entertech water guns, and all the wrestlers of WWF! I had scenes of Superman, He-Man, Battlecats and G.I Joe memorized ("fighting for freedom, wherever there's trouble, GI Joe is there!"). Forget Barbies and Cabbage Patch Kids, please pass the Snail Circus! How to Freeze a Grasshoppers in "Carbonite" aka Minty Toothpaste! Quiet Time: "Let's Slide Down the Basement Stairs in a Sleeping Bag!" Oh, it was good times, I tell you. Good times.
I have lots of memories of my younger brothers sitting on the floor next to the couch with an action figure in each hand with their chins resting on the cushion while the action scene played out right at eye level. For hours and hours they would battle. A fight to the death, or multiple deaths, depending on how many times they were "just faking it"! Their imaginations were incredible. I wish we had a video recorder back then so you could witness the awesomeness for yourselves.
Here they are in their prime: James, Tim and Andy
We had a huge blizzard that year, and they spent hours constructing this snow battle scene for their G.I. Joes.
Don't you love Andy in shorts in the middle of winter?
As I sat down with Yaks following his invitation, I figured this was what I was in for. A similar give-and-take of good vs. evil, verbal banter and sparring plastic acrobatics. I felt like I was finally invited into this world I'd only observed. Then the sad reality: Yaks doesn't know SQUAT about this kind of play! It kind of looked like this snowball fight:
Instead of a give and take, back and forth, sometimes-you-win-sometimes-I-win, it was more like, "I disarm you. I crush you. The end." Our battle was over in like 3.5 seconds! Awe, no fun!
And so, I took it upon myself to train him. Poor kid, how else is he going to learn? I only wished my brothers could be here to do it properly. "Perhaps," I thought to myself wistfully, "all that observing has prepared you for this day. I'm his only hope! I'm his Obi Wan Kenobi." And so we started at the beginning. I explained there has to be good guys and bad guys. Yaks determined that the bad guys had to have "grumpy faces".
good guys always win! We each took charge of setting up a fort. I got the treasure chest and the man-eating dog on my side, while he secured the force field and the alarm system (Little People's Manger, which plays "Away in a Manger" when tripped. Hilarious!)
I added a few more "extras" to our scene to make it cool: A moat with an enormous snake, trap doors, magical flying escape horses, etc.
Then I taught him how to hold one good guy and one bad guy in each hand. Add in some verbal banter. Phrases like, "Prepare to die," "You are no match for ____," "Curse you!" "NEVER!" "Aaaarrrrgh!" Then I modeled the cool sound effects of punches, kicks and roundhouses. I know friends, you should have seen me! It was all coming back to me.
By the end of our play, Yaks was slowly getting the hang of it! He wants to play with me all the time now. I'm sure the day is fast-approaching when this mom is "lame" and "embarrassing," and once again I'll be the odd girl out.
But it was not this day...
Oh no...not this day! Today, I am AWESOME.