One of the things I have come to love the very most about our eclectic little neighborhood is the fact that it really is a slice of 1950’s heaven. The kids walk out the front door and five neighborhood kids materialize for kickball or football or soccer. No one even knocks on our door; kids just literally run in and out, eat if it’s time for a meal or a snack, use the bathroom or grab water. At any given moment, there’s a competitive game of something taking place on my front lawn.
Yesterday, we got a rare 80 degree, early April day. The kids all had spring fever. Before long, Caroline had assembled some kids (fourth grade down to kindergarten ages) and announced that they were going to play a game she invented called poison ivy. (She says she invented it, but don’t sue me if your kids play it, too.)
This game should have been called “Caroline is the Dictator.”
She first drew boxes on the driveway with chalk, and no one could move outside their box without her permission.
Then she positioned herself about twenty feet away from them with a ball.
When she called someone’s name, they were allowed to leave their box, and they had to walk toward her s-l-o-w-l-y.
When they got within firing distance, she drilled them with the ball.
Whether she hit you or not (and the kid isn’t a marksman, I can tell you that), you had to go in the “out box.”
Here and there, she’d randomly yell, “Hey! You just lost twenty points!”
At one point, a very bewildered Jack replied, “Why? I didn’t do anything. I wasn’t moving and I didn’t even say anything.”
And she said, “I made up the rules.”
Honestly, Caroline being bossy doesn’t surprise me so much. When I was nine, I got my ears pierced because my teacher called my mother and told her I was being a little less bossy with the other third-grade girls. So hey, the apple doesn’t fall that far from the tree.
What does surprise me is that these other kids went along with it! The fourth grader is a really, really smart kid – he could read novels in kindergarten. So why didn’t he tell Caroline to take a hike?
Why didn’t Jack tell on her? God knows he practices that often enough.
Why didn’t all the kids revolt and go play a game where they weren’t getting nailed by a ball or penalized without cause every five minutes?
I don't know; that's why I'm asking you (and if your answer involves diagnosing a social disorder in my daughter, please keep it to yourself. I have enough to worry about). All I know is that I have never laughed so hard while cooking dinner.