What’s Good for the Gander

A confession:  I don’t understand–even remotely–the appeal of the Matchbox car.  Okay, now that I”ve admitted that, let’s start at the beginning:  I grew up with a brother who worshiped Matchbox cars (and the occasional, usually forbidden, Hot Wheel).  I sat at a safe distance and watched him line them up, create scenarios, and line them up again.  And I didn’t get it.  Fast forward 30-plus years and I still don’t get it.  I read a lot of parenting books and articles.  As a teacher, I try very hard to understand what is “developmentally appropriate” for my children.  And as a woman, I am trying very hard to believe that this has nothing to do with the fact that I have two X-chromosomes.   But I sit and watch Oscar and Edgar “play cars,” and when I am invited to join them, I do–glad to be included and knowing full well that this won’t always be the case.  But I don’t get how to play cars or why one plays cars.  Sometimes, in a moment of realism, the cars drive along uneventfully then park.  Sometimes personification prevails and they talk.  And sometimes they crash.  I assume there are rules, but I sure don’t know them.  There is a lot about preschool play that I get:  I understand that splashing in puddles, playing in a sandbox, and creating with Play-Doh is fun.  But this one is elusive.  I’m hoping that by continuing to accept their invitations and actively participating to whatever extent my own limitations will allow, I’ll figure it out.  Hopefully, by then they will not have outgrown this clearly charming, imaginative play.

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