Welcome to the swamp! Here, lurking in the muck, where creativity spawns, you'll find Mrs Crocodile, aka Colleen Dunkel, a costumer and teacher based in Basel, Switzerland.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Playing Island

Patti docked in the shallow water.
My kids don't play house, they play island.  I'm not exactly sure how this came about, but it seems an important game.  If you want to play it at your house, here's how it goes.  Take a few but very important items: towels, a trash can, storage baskets, bowls, which you will then miss if they are not in their usual place.  Then in the middle of a room, usually in the middle of a main passageway, like at the entrance to the flat, in the hallway, or in the middle of the kitchen, put a towel or basket on the floor to mark the island.  Then take some dolls and set up a home for the dolls on the towel.  For some reason, there is always a toilet on the island and some beds, but the toilet has been an important part of this game for already two years.  I know this because my kids used the trash can from the bathroom, so it was missing for the better part of two years and no-one was allowed to use it to actually throw trash into.  Only dolls and stuffed animals were allowed to poop in it.  After the set up, which typically takes several days but could take up to a week, you can start to play, so at night before you go to bed, you put the dolls and stuffed animals in their island beds, in the morning you wake them up again and get them dressed.  Shoes and slippers become boats and the dolls or stuffed animals sail to other parts of the house.  Shoes with shoe laces are particularly good as boats because they can be tied to other items of furniture so that they won't float away.  Each rug has a different depth, so that sometimes characters can get out and swim or actually touch the ground of the water.  Some of them can't swim and the swimming lessons begin.  There is a lot of feeding and cleaning going on on the island, which makes me think it's really a version of playing house.  So now you know how it goes.  I'm so glad my kids are so creative and don't play house the normal way.  Either it has something to do with how I play house, or don't.  On the subject of playing house, with one my English classes we are reading "Revolutionary Road", Richard Yates's critique of fifties America which has been recently made into to movie with Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.  The wonderfully truthful and therefore mad character of John Givings, puts it into words for me:  "You want to play house, you got to have a job.  You want to play very nice house, very sweet house, then you got to have a job you don't like.  Great."  So like I said, I like that my kids play island.
Aloha for now,
Mrs Crocodile 

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