This girl right here is a huge cheater pants. That’s right. When we play games, she knows how to manipulate everything so that she wins or comes out ahead every.single.time. As a big-time rule follower, this kind of freaks me out and also drives me crazy.
But this game is different. In this fun game, you roll the dice and get nine different little icons and you create a story based on these. I really didn’t think there was a way to cheat, because really no one wins, but my girl figured out a way anyway.
We played a couple of rounds today (by the way, just do not ask about the mittens and the headband) and on her third turn, I noticed she was flipping over some of the dice looking for something. I said, “No, baby, just leave them. That’s the fun of the game, you have to invent a new story with what you get.”
She looked at me in that mom-trust-me-I-got-this way of hers and said, “But I’m looking for the happy and sad faced ones. They HAVE to be in my story.” Oooookay.
So she finds them and then proceeds to tell her story in which the princess was away from home and felt quite sad. The princess then goes through a series of adventures to arrive safely at home and is happy again. The end!
It strikes me how grown up my girl is in this moment. Even at four, she understands several things:
1) A story arc. This is just a natural language of small children, I believe. There’s a character, something happens to them, they fix it, they feel better.
2) Girl knows how to adjust her tone and intonation while telling a really good story. It’s awesome.
3) Feelings are essential parts of stories. If there are no emotions, it’s not a good story.
4) Her stories don’t always end happily. Sometimes she leaves her characters in a tower or with a monster or just kind of sad. But I notice that when she ties it all up nicely with a happy ending, she smiles when she’s finished and takes a little bow, as if she’s proud of her creation. I, too, love a happy ending. Even if it’s not realistic to think that every situation will end happily, I love her that in her mind, when we have trouble and we go through stuff, there’s something better waiting for us.