Saturday, August 6, 2011


Today, I was thinking about being in kindergarten. We had a time block during the day when we could choose to play a particular activity. Boys had certain things they could do, and girls had certain activities they could do. Toys were grouped by activity and gender and we were forbidden to mix them. Boys could play with large cardboard blocks, small wooden blocks, trucks, or rubber animals. Girls had girly stuff – dolls, sewing cards, hand puppets, or a play house. Most girls chose to play house or dolls. The hand puppets were socks with buttons sewn on for eyes…really lame. The sewing cards were too easy, and boring after 5 minutes or so.  Playing dolls in kindergarten with other girls was unappealing.

I usually played house because it was the least dreary of the choices. I usually amused myself by upsetting the other girls. One in particular, her name was Joni, was the world’s worst tattletale and a crybaby. It was easy to make her mad, and she almost always cried when she got mad. The play house had one large, ugly plastic doll in it. The doll had a plastic head with painted hair and painted blue eyes. She had a frozen smile and looked rather devilish. Perhaps that’s where I found inspiration. I did things such as tie her booties over her hands and put her clothes on backwards. That was all it took to upset Joni. Sometimes I put the doll in the toy oven, refrigerator, or washing machine.

One time, I popped off off the doll's arms and legs and discovered they were I put arms where legs were supposed to go and fat, chubby legs where arms were supposed to go.  I put it in the crib and covered it with the blanket. Joni found it and pitched a giant fit  - she cried so loud the teacher felt obligated to investigate. I showed the teacher that the limbs were easy to put back in order, but she made me sit in the corner for the rest of the play period.  The teacher made me apologize in front of the whole class. I told Joni, with much sincerity, how sorry I was that she cried. I took my seat and looked over at her. She stuck her tongue out at me. When I think of Joni, that’s the image that comes to mind – looking hateful with her tongue sticking out.

I never was one to play with dolls much.  Sarah being an only child and sort of a loner (like her Mommy), always wanted me to play Barbies with her. There’s only so much an adult can do with a doll. I combed their hair, changed their clothes, and mostly just watched Sarah play. One time, she handed me two dressed Barbie dolls and asked me to swap their clothes. Ugh, really? I swapped their heads instead, but she didn't notice.  I handed them back to her and she was stunned. As soon as she reasoned how I did it so quickly, she was furious with me.  She was not happy with head transplantation. 

Erin and Emily began playing with Barbies quite young, I wouldn’t let them have the little shoes or accessories because I thought they might choke on the little pieces. They were not quite coordinated enough and struggled to change their clothes. One time, Erin was sitting in front of me trying to get a Barbie out of tight-fitting pants. She said, “OH!! This is really pistering me off” and she chucked it across the room. It was funny but it made me feel bad to hear her imitate me (she no doubt heard me say the expression “pissing me off”).

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