Rondel’s imagination and creativity have been accelerating exponentially these days, with the rather amusing side effect of turning him into a small hilarious lawyer with regards to our house rules. Case in point: after watching me saw half an inch off of my closet rod this afternoon, he found his small plastic saw and scoured the house searching for things to pretend to saw. Naturally, one of the things he found was his brother, and he started “sawing” Limerick’s neck with his toy.
Now, I love for the boys to wrestle and play rough with each other – it lets them get their physical energy out and teaches them to modulate their expression of it since being too violent would end the fun with tears and conflict. And I don’t have any problem with them “sword-fighting” with random objects, taking turns being the “good guy” or “friendly monster” and fighting away the “bad guy” or “scary monster.” But I really didn’t feel comfortable with Rondel pretending to saw his brother. In retrospect, I can’t say why for sure! In the moment, however, I asked him to stop and told him he could saw anything he wanted but not people, because real saws would never be used on people.
He acquiesced amicably (he usually does when I have some sort of reason he doesn’t have a comeback for), but about five minutes later I saw the saw come out again in a tussle with his brother.
“Rondel!” I remonstrated. “What did I tell you about using the saw on people?”
“I’m not sawing him!” retorted Rondel. “It’s just that I’m a Therizinosaurus and I’m using the saw to be my pretend claw!”
I know this is the moment where I’m supposed to go all spirit-of-the-law… but I just felt proud! First, he was playing pretend, using the props at hand to construct a vivid imaginary world. Second, he was recalling rather esoteric information that we’d discovered while reading together (Therizinosaurus has the longest claws of any known dinosaur) and working it into his play, which is one of the best ways to cement knowledge. And finally, he was cognizant of my request not to pretend to saw people and was actually being quite respectful of it, even while doing essentially the same physical action I had put a stop to before!
And honestly, because it was the thought of sawing people and not the physical act of thumping someone gently with a piece of plastic shaped like a saw that had bothered me in the first place, I didn’t mind what he was doing at all.