Sunday, March 06, 2011

Caroline's School

Caroline is obsessed with playing school and has no patience for her brother and sister who either don't want to play at all or don't want to play by her rules.  At first glance, it's really cute.  She makes this huge effort to set everything up in her room or playroom with places to sit complete with name tags (just like she has at school).  Then she makes up worksheets that she has me make copies of for her 2 pupils.  Then she rings a bell and calls them to her classroom.  At this point, it's fairly interesting to Bryce and Piper and they play right into it.  But then the "day" starts as does the drama.  Caroline imposes the rules on her siblings that she has in her classroom, in addition she has her own set of expectations in her head that are completely ridiculous for a pretend school and kids that are younger than her and never actually been in a real school classroom.  She also has this weird timeline in her head of how things should go.

So basically, she entices her siblings into her room with promises of fun and within a few minutes of starting, the fun is GONE and someone breaks a "rule" and the battle begins.  Nothing riles Caroline up faster than Bryce or Piper not following her school rules.  Usually Piper plays along the best and Bryce is the rule breaker.  He yells he doesn't want to play and Caroline goes ballistic.  And unfortunately, one student isn't enough for Caroline to feel like she can play school so Bryce not playing along means that school play would be over and that is devastating to her.  Screaming, hitting, yelling....it's oh so fun.  I've asked Bryce why he consents to play school with her every.single.time she asks when it almost always ends like this and he didn't have an answer.  (He usually yells out during the battle that he hates playing school and will never play it again - so why does he come back for more?)

After the last school battle on Friday evening, I tried to have a heart to heart with Caroline.  One of the things she said that made me almost laugh was "Why can't they follow the rules I make?  They're the same rules I follow in class every day!"  I pointed out that neither Bryce or Piper is old enough to be in the first grade and maybe her expectations are too high.  I also asked her if she liked following Bryce's rules/directions when they play other things and she said no.  So I told her that often, siblings don't like playing by another sibling's rules and that this might just be a game that she can't expect Bryce to play very well with her.  She didn't like any of my suggestions and will probably go back to doing exactly what she's been doing.  I don't know why she keeps trying but clearly playing school is her favorite game.  And why wouldn't it be?  She's a naturally bossy, oldest sister.  She doesn't know how NOT to be the boss.  It's in her genes.  I know how bossy I was as a kid and often hear my childhood self in the things she says although I don't think I had the temper she has.  She's just having a very tough time realizing Bryce is growing up and isn't the follower he used to be.  It will be interesting when he is in kindergarten next year and if this school game changes at all with his exposure to real school.

1 comment:

Heather said...

I remember doing that with my sister--I had a chalkboard and everything. It always ended in a fight....but I kept trying to play.