We have these friends. They don’t let their son play with toy guns, swords or weapons of any kind. “Hero Play” is forbidden. Acts of violence or saving another child from a pretend act of violence are frowned upon.
Their son can now make a weapon out of anything. He can build complex weapons out of Legos. A pillow is a shield, a stick is a sword, a play broom’s handle is a super machine gun with an imaginary scope. If he goes into a house that has toy artillery, he can and will sniff it out like he’s jonesing for his next hit of the good stuff. He rapid-fires with his lips, loving the noise and spit that fly out of his mouth.
These parents have forbidden something that he wants and now, either as a result of their limitations or not, he searches out the forbidden fruit. And, if he can’t find it, he’ll create it on his own. He can think about nothing else.
It’s kind of how C.J. is about all things feminine. Not that we forbid it, but we don’t (aren’t able) to spoil our children. His favorite activities are arts and crafts and playing dress-up and make-believe. He’s fine with our assortment of art supplies, but will never be satisfied with our dress-up wardrobe. So, he creates costumes and make-believe girly things on his own. Some people have said that he won’t play with “girl” stuff if we don’t buy it for him. Really? Check this out.
Here he is a while ago. He took Nana Grab Bags’s favorite apron, scoured my walk-in closet for the perfect shoes and used a calculator from the junk drawer as a cell phone. He said that he was “Mommy going to work.”
And, here he is after a trip to the toy store, where he was refused a pair of pom-poms because earlier in the day he had not been a very good listener, had wiped his boogers on his brother and called him a poo-poo head. Yes, those are bath poufs. He wore them for hours and days on end and referred to them as his pom-poms…until they got covered in spaghetti sauce one night at dinner.
The good thing about bath pouf pom-poms? They wash easily. He was back in the game, I mean sidelines, cheering in no time.
Our dress-up drawers are loaded with equal parts traditional girl and boy costumes and accessories. He liked the feel and fabric of this number. The long sash in the back sent him over the edge. It was originally the shirt from a boy’s Arabian Nights costume, but that’s not how C.J. prefers it.
He marched himself straight to the garage and found some rope. He cut it with blunt scissors and made me tie it at the waist. Hello belted shirtdress!
Here we have C.J. wearing a Valentine’s Day-themed dish towel as a stylish heart-flecked skirt. After sneaking a belt from his brother’s room he held the towel up to his waist and insisted that I belt it around him.
St. Valentine himself would be proud.
We’ve learned that C.J. is really creative. He doesn’t need new things, as long as he is allowed to turn stuff into exactly what he has in mind. We’ve learned that even if we don’t buy him feminine costumes and toys, he’ll find a way to play with them, imagine them, make them on his own. In our house, our plastic guns, swords and light sabers are safe from C.J., but our belts, aprons and bath poufs are not.