Saturday, September 16, 2006

Renting a Dinosaur

My son has a very vivid imagination. This is something that I should be thankful
for but his constant, elaborate scenarios can get exhausting. For example, on Mondays, Wednesdays and
Fridays, we leave the house at 7:40 am to take my son to school. On these days, the pretending begins before
I even back out of the driveway. It
goes something like this:

Son: “Mommy, do
you want to pretend something.”

Me: “Why don’t we
listen to some music.”

Son: “I don’t want
to listen to music. I want you to play
with me.”

Me: “OK. What do you want to play?”

Son: “I’ll be the
museum man and you and Sissy are the people that come to the
       museum. Now you say, ‘Museum man, is the museum open

Me: “Museum man,
is the museum open yet?”

Son:  In a
distorted voice that is meant to sound museum man-ish, “Yes. Come on in.
        What kind
of dinosaur would you like to rent?”

Me: “I don’t need
to rent a dinosaur. I’ll just look at

Son: “But this is
a dinosaur-renting place.”

He always feeds me my dialogue. This makes the entire discourse extra fun. I usually just go along with whatever he
says but sometimes I create my own dialogue. This rarely goes over well. I
usually end up arguing with him for a few minutes and then giving up and
saying, “I wish my friend would come” or whatever lame phrase he feeds to me.  My husband and I have started calling him, “the
Dictator.” We have friends who call
their son (who has the same affliction), “the Mayor.” I guess the latter is a little more kind but, alas, it’s already

Whenever we are at home and my son asks me to play with him,
I am either too busy and rattle off an excuse or I make other suggestions. “Why don’t we play outside” “Do you want to play a game instead?” “How about we listen to some music and
dance?” He rarely agrees to my
suggestions. “Playing pretend” is, by
far, his favorite activity. He becomes
full of himself and animated on the rare occasions that I begrudgingly agree to
play with him.

Why is it so difficult for me to muster up any enthusiasm
for pretend play with my son? I know,
all too well, how quickly time passes. I realize that the day will soon come when he has no interest in playing
with me at all and I will look upon these play sessions with longing and
nostalgia. So, why can’t I just forget
about all of the other things I need to do and throw myself into the
dialogue?  Renting a dinosaur, after all, is a serious commitment.  I should not take that choice lightly.


  1. pick the stegasouras (sp) they are the best!

  2. I was thinking more along the lines of a brontosaurus. I prefer herbivores.

  3. If they are out of those then maybe you can choose the stegosaurus he/she is a herivore also.

  4. This is very interesting. Gosh, I remember when I was little we would play all day outside, pretending and running around. ALL DAY! My 3 y.o. daughter Keira and I have the same pretend play.
    She'll say: "Lets play pirates. I'll be Captain Hook and you *will* be one of the other pirates". She proceeds to tell me what to say. I say it. I also sneak in my 'own' dialogue all too often which seems to do nothing more that make her pissed off at me, but, I just can't help it! I do cherish these talks because I know all too soon that I will be invisible to her. Aye captain, sometimes they are a real struggle because I think of all those other things. The lawn needs mowing, the oil in the car needs to be changed or dare I say it, I'd like to have a cup of coffee?
    So, why is it so hard for us? The answer is easy.
    We grew up Wendy. We promised we wouldn't but we did.

  5. I've begun calling Keira "Captain" for same reason that Truman is "Dictator" and your friend's son is "The Mayor".
    Reading such stories after Keira is asleep, and I don't have to play incessantly, is charming and cute. But I'm right there with you, preferring to "chill" on the car rides, rather than pretending (as instructed) to be Keira finding an egg that a chick is about to hatch out of (as she covers herself with a blanket), and saying (as instructed) "I wonder if there's a chick in there that's gonna hatch," as she starts poking through the blanket. Over and over and over and over and over again.

  6. Rick-
    It sounds like Keira and my son could have some fun together. They might spend the entire time engaged in a power struggle though! We play Pirate sometimes too. I always want to be Blackbeard but my son insists that my name be something like, "Oonga Bungo." He's into nonsense names right now.

  7. Melinda-
    I guess I need to do some more research on my dinosaurs :)

  8. Spaz-
    Sounds like we need to get the Dictator, the Captain, and the Mayor together for a town-hall meeting. That would make for an interesting playgroup!

  9. This is by far my favorite post yet! Thanks for making me laugh on such a dreary mucho prego day :)

  10. Thanks Kate! I'm glad you enjoyed it. I have participated in the "renting a dinosaur" dialogue at least 50 times.