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Doctor recommended for optimal cerebral hygiene 

more important than toys?!

Saturday, November 27, 2004

file this under "things i've learned from my children."

my children have play dates. this is somewhat comparable, i suppose, to what we did back in the day. getting together with friends, running around the neighborhood, mostly unsupervised.

the "running around" and "unsupervised" parts no longer apply, but you get the idea.

today, for example, my six year son old had a classmate over, and my four year old daughter had a visit from a girl who lives up the alley.

the boys were incorrigible. they fought, they argued, they were thoroughly disagreeable.

my wife and i were appalled.

the girls, for the most part, got along swimmingly. they danced, they sang, they watched a barbie video.

my wife and i were enthralled.

finally, a few minutes before everyone was to go home, all four children were playing together in the living room. the boys had their teenage mutant ninja turtles; the girls had their bratz dolls.

peace was not reigning, but the disagreements were manageable.

then the girl from up the alley pulled an arm off my daughter's bratz. the reaction was instantaneous and monumental. my daughter's eyes got big, her mouth dropped open and she shreiked.


she grabbed the doll from her friend and gave her a four year old shove. then she burst into tears. on cue, her friend started crying. the boys stopped their squabbling and watched, agape.

all this happened in the time it took me to leap up off the couch and start across the room. amazingly, my intervention wasn't necessary.

my daughter, hands over her eyes, suddenly stopped crying. wiping her cheeks, she stepped over and put a hand on her friend's arm.

"don't cry, malea, it's okay," she said. "i have lots of toys, and friends are more important than toys."

malea sniffled a few more times. "i'm sorry i broke her," she said. "it's okay," my daughter replied.

the boys resumed their squabbling. the girls resumed their playing.

the only one in the room still affected was me.

"i have lots of toys. and friends are more important than toys."