Wednesday, December 01, 2010

BOOK REPORT: This Book Is Real

Florida is of course a hell, but now that I've been returned to the loving arms of its Magical Flea-Market Booksale I am once again happy. Last week I picked up Let's Pretend: Games of Fantasy for Babies and Young Children, a book that seems to have been written to help robots raise human offspring. The author treats the concept of Pretend as being only slightly less complicated than particle physics. The game of Dress Up requires hundreds of words of explanation, Puppet Show requires nearly a thousand. The victims of her murderous analysis are classic games such as Tea Party, Hairdos, Mama's Baby (Daddy's Baby), and Restaurant Fun. Who, as a child, did not occasionally enjoy a rousing game of And What's the Daddy's Name? Other games she teaches us are new to me, such as Bears in a Cave, No Way Out, Pillow Panic, and Don't Look Now, But. I think these were not typically played by well-adjusted children, of which I was certainly one. (LIE.)

Would you like to play a game called Me, Baby? Of course you would and here is how:

Me, Baby!

Equipment: None


1. Whether you encourage it or not, somewhere along the line your child will want to pretend to be a baby again. Having a new baby in the house will influence the extent and frequency of Me, Baby! You'll recognize step one when your child enters the room at a crawl or stagger and announces, "Me, baby!"

2. Your best bet is to go along with it. "Oh! My goodness! Look at this cute baby!"

3. Your "baby" will most likely gurgle, coo, or cry in response.

4. Pick her up and hold her over your shoulder as if she were an infant. Pat or rub her back while you sing a quick version of Rock-A-Bye Baby.

5. Pretending the couch is a crib or bassinet, lie her down with an imaginary bottle. "Here's your bottle, baby. You just lie there and watch Mommy wash the dishes!"

6. When your "baby" tires of lying still she may fuss or cry.

7. Take the imaginary bottle away and hand her a toy or keys to play with. "Play with this, baby. Mommy can't hold you right now."

8. Next time she "cries" pick her up again or rock her in a rocking chair.

9. A good way to end is simply to put the "baby" to bed. While you pretend to put on her pajamas, talk to yourself. "Boy, I sure will be glad when you are a big girl. I wish I had a big girl who could talk and play and help me. I'm awfully tired of babies!"

10. If your child wants to continue the game, tell her that babies sleep most of the time!

That is a quote. That is all a quote. I love how every single step is written out. If you didn't have this guide and your child staggered into the room pretending to be a baby, you'd probably end up freaking out and screaming BENJAMIN BUTTON WAS TRUE while forcibly diapering her and/or pressing her mouth against your bare breast. I mean wouldn't you?

Of course there are illustrations. Of course there are the worst illustrations.


This picture creeps me out so bad 
and I don't know why--
maybe because the child's reflection
appears to be an independent entity
capable of turning away from its source
and looking the reader in the eye

Pillow Panic is a fucked-up game, 
no two ways about it

Step 2 of Here Kitty, Kitty, Kitty goes as follows: 
Once your child is in position, find out just how much 
she knows about cats. Ask, "What do kitties say? 
Can you meow like a kitty?"

Games of Fantasy for Babies indeed


M-----l said...

I'd be willing to bet that the original art for Pillow Panic featured the model in the nude. There's something decidedly pornographic about that pose.

And what the heck is up with swing lady's foot?! It looks like a flipper.

Tricia said...

I've read the Pillow Panic entry like four times now and I still don't know what the "game" is--I just know it involves a boat, crocodiles, and "chocolate candy"

Radish King said...

As a parent I found it best to stop playing Me, Baby, when my child turned 25.

Tricia said...

I admire your restraint, Rebecca

Suzanne said...

omg, Thank YOU! Thank you for this!

[laughing maniacally]

Tricia said...

It was my pleasure, obviously