Friday, April 27, 2007

On Playing with a Three-Year-Old Girl

This one is for onechan, who's into mazes and puzzles lately, and had her first swimming lesson on imoto's birthday.

When we're not doing some kind of fantasy role-playing thing (on which more in a sec) or reading (usually in English, b/c my Japanese is so slow) or playing catch or balloon golf/baseball or kakurembo or eating a snack together, we're at the kitchen table doing the mazes or the puzzles (when we're not drawing pictures of her and her friends with super-long ponytails and babies in their stick-figure tummies--don't ask). We have basically the same approach to the latter--take whatever turn makes sense at the time and backtrack when necessary (mama wants her to erase her mistakes, which of course she does when she does puzzles with mama, but I'm more about the trial and the error than the appearance of perfection)--so the only thing I have to do is check that onechan didn't cheat by breaking through the walls instead of walking through the doors (she likes those metaphors a lot). But with puzzles it's different. I like to proceed rationally, by getting the corners in place and then the edges and then working my way in, but onechan likes to put tomodachi together, which means matching pieces that look similar, by shape and picture. We find a way to compromise and combine our two methods and have a good time in the end, but it always takes a bit of butting heads to get there. You can learn something about teaching by playing with a three-year-old.

But that's not what this post is about. This post is an attempt to document, in chronological order, the various parts I have been assigned by onechan in the fantasy role-playing adventures we've invented together over the years.

1. She's Dora, I'm Boots.
2. She's Bubbles, I'm Buttercup, imoto's Blossom, and mama's Miss Bellum. (I've repeatedly tried to convince her she should be Blossom, I should be Bubbles [my favorite PPG], and imoto should be Buttercup--or that I should be The Professor and mama should be Buttercup--to no avail.)
3. I'm the bear (from a Japanese kids' story where a young bear first puts his clothes on all wrong and only gets it right at the end--this is less a fantasy role-play than her refrain whenever I make a mistake, but I'm including it anyway).
4. She's Inu Yasha, imoto's Kagome, I'm Miroku, and mama's Sango.
5. She's a Pretty Cure superhero, I'm a bad monster (although sometimes I become a good monster, usually I have to laugh like a supervillain and try to kidnap imoto, who's one of those cute little usagi or risu sidekicks from the various seasons; various stuffed anmals and cardboard cutouts of anime characters get recruited into this game).
6. We're going to the beach like Corduroy and his friends, and I have to drive us there.
7. She's imoto (a little tiny baby, this small [holding her thumb and forefinger almost together]), imoto's onechan, I'm onichan, and the tsuma is my girlfriend--I'm liking this new one the best, as I get to act like the mean teenage boy who's only into his girlfriend and is bored by his younger sister. Fun!
8. This technically doesn't belong on the list, because I don't have a set role yet, but often onechan is My Melody and imoto is Kuromi (because she is rough and hasn't learned how to be yasaashi like onechan yet).

Have I mentioned onechan has a great sense of humor and is into wordplay of all kinds? That she loves the Beatles and the Oh Brother Where Are You soundtrack as much as she does the first Powerpuff Girls cd and the Japanese kids' songs that her aunt taped for her? That when she was a baby she didn't object to most of my favorite music (unlike her mom)? That she can sing most of the Pretty Cure and Onegai My Melody opening and ending songs, not to mention several Baptist hymns, in Japanese (gotta love that yochien)?

Let's just say that I'm looking forward to the time she's old enough to appreciate bebop cola and the episode of Sealab 2021 from which it comes:

Or maybe I should hope she never finds this kind of humor funny?


Bill Benzon said...

usagi = (cute little bunny) rabbit?

Assuming so, they're rather important in manga and anime, no? In Tezuka's early Lost World a very cute and heroic usagi named Mimio saves the day, several times, and then (sob) dies at the end.

Bill Benzon said...

That's Adult Swim? Seems more like Adult Sink to me.

Do you know that the night club venue in Lincoln Center's (brand spanking new) jazz center is sponsored by Coca Cola and so is Dizzy's Club Coca Cola?

The Constructivist said...

Apparently life really does imitate bad animation. (Although I must admit I find that episode to be one of the three funniest ever in the very uneven Sealab 2021 corpus.)

Gary Dauphin said...

omigod, that's completely the funniest thing ever. and when Murphy starts quoting little seen wesley snipes movie sugar hill (because we're a community, and when love comes into it...) my head really does about explode.

The Constructivist said...

ebog, if you like this one, you gotta find their time travel episode that I believe is indebted to the funniest Stanislaw Lem short story ever! i'm trying to remember what I thought was the third funniest episode....