Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Witch House or Fairy House?

Probably because I've either been a student or a teacher for most of my life, August seems like the end of the year and September is the beginning. I always make resolutions for the "new year" around this time. Last year, one of my resolutions was that I was going to walk Daisy to school every day. Being that it is a mile each way, which is a little long for a kindergartner, and pushing the double stroller was like pushing a freight train uphill, we found it challenging to do it all the time but we probably walked about a quarter of the school year (OK, maybe an eighth).

This school year, I have the same resolution as Daisy will be a big time first grader. I made up some games to pass the time on our walks and reduce the whininess factor. They might sound boring but they're fun with little kids. There's Cat Bingo, which involves yelling "Bingo!" as loudly as possible when you spot a cat. The first person who yells it wins and guarantees that every kitty within hearing distance is running for cover, making the game more challenging. Another one is Animal Safari, which involves searching for animals (real or fake) and trying to memorize the list of animals spotted during the walk. We also play the good old standard I Spy.

But Violet, the three-year-old, made up a game that we play a lot recently. It's called Witch House or Fairy House. It involves looking at each house and determining if a witch or fairy lives there. At first, I could predict that the houses that looked neat with flowers blooming in the frontyard would be fairy houses, while the ones with peeling paint and weeds would be witch houses. But now, it seems that we are stereotyping less. There are fairies who live in rundown houses, and there are witches who live in houses with manicured lawns. Daisy and Violet carefully consider each house . . . hmmm . . . before deciding, yes this is definitely a place where fairies cavort, or this is definitely a place where witches feast.

What I like about the game is that whatever the final decision is, I can definitely see their point. Why, yes . . . that is very witchy, or wow, what a frou-frou fairy house that is. It's an exercise that illustrates what a tenuous connection there can be between perception and reality. I imagine that if anyone stepped out of a house immediately after the judgement had been made that we would see something mysteriously fairy or witch-like about the individual. It makes me think about how easy it is to see something that isn't there or miss something that is there just because of our own biased perspectives. Do you know what I mean?

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