Tuesday, February 5, 2008

a game with its own liabilities

For the last few days, the boys have been in an intense wild cat phase. Yesterday morning at home they were leopards, chasing and clawing and hunting prey. Yesterday evening at the mall they were cheetahs, chasing and clawing and hunting prey. Tonight before bed they were tigers, chasing and clawing and hunting prey.

They are forever trying to rope me into these games. Sometimes I'm told I'm the mama cat, in which case I'm supposed to teach them how to chase and claw and hunt prey. Sometimes I'm told I'm the prey, in which case I'm supposed to run screaming and then allow myself to be captured and clawed at and nibbled on.

Overall, it's not so much fun for me, though I wish I could tell you otherwise. There's only so much energy I have left over for this kind of play, and if I kept at it, something bad might happen to my 40-year-old body, like getting really tired.

Because Ezra is the older of the two, he's the decider in this as in most things. He chooses the roles and the rules and generally bosses everyone around. But separate from that, he's more committed to these fantasies in the first place, whereas Levi is happy to play tiger but just as happy to abandon the hunt for prey and hop onto the bike with training wheels that's currently indoors ruining our newly finished floors.

So tonight, when I was tucking Ezra into bed, feeling bad that I don't play tiger as well as I'd like, I said, "Good night, my tiger." And I kissed him.

"I'm not playing tiger anymore," he said. "I'm playing your son."

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