Play time

More Madeline Wyndzen questions again. That page of hers really is a goldmine!

During your early childhood (before puberty) what were your friends like? Describe your best friends. Were they boys or girls? What were you favorite types of play? When you played with toys ‘meant’ for your biological sex, did you play with them in the typical way? For example, I used to have matchbox cars (a stereotypically boyish toy) which I played with in a way that personified them as friends and family. It was only in the last few years when studying developmental psychology that I found out fantasy play like this is more typical of girls. What do your friend choices and activity choices from youth tell you about whom you are. Were there activities you were forbidden to do, that you really wanted to do? Why were you forbidden to do that? How did you respond?

As a child, I had both boy and girl friends. The one thing they all had in common was that they liked rough and active play, which was the kind of play I liked best too. That, and books. Books were my escape from reality. They sent me off to unknown places and gave me more friends than real life ever could.

I did not have any boyish toys, even though I would have liked to have had some. I just never got any cars or airplanes. What I did have, was plenty of girl toys and “unisex” toys such as balls, building blocks, a scooter, a bike.

I don’t think I the way I played with my girl toys was all too different from the way my sisters did. I looked to them – and esp. to my older sister – to figure out how to play like a proper girl. So I bathed and dressed my dolls. I talked to them and “fed” them. They even had names, though in all honesty it was usually Mum who came up with their names. I just never knew what to call a new doll. Weren’t they all basically the same?

There was one doll I really liked. She was special. Different from my other dolls, because she could talk. She only said stupid things like, “Mummy will you comb my hair?” but it made playing with her ever so much easier. At least with this doll I didn’t have to make up an entire conversation with a lifeless thing all by myself.

Another of my favourite girl toys was my dolls house. Even though it was small – just two rooms – I loved it. I could spend hours decorating and redecorating, arranging and rearranging the furniture. I would make my own pieces of furniture from cardboard, foam, pieces of scrap wood, drawing pins, tiny scraps of fabric… anything really.

Not surprisingly, as I grew up I loved arranging and rearranging the furniture in my room. I loved making things for the house. I still do. Those of you who are familiar with my sister blog, Liam’s Family Bed & Breakfast, will have seen numerous examples of my fondness for interior design there.

Also, I plead guilty of having been a willing victim of the Sims. The original game, the Sims 2, the Sims 3, and the Sims Social. I would play hours a day. Day after day, week after week. For months, no years I would spend most of my free time playing my beloved Sims.

Well, playing… strictly speaking that’s not entirely true. I did play with my pixelated people, sure. I took devillish delight in torturing and killing them. (Yes, I’m quite guilty of mass sim murder.) But my real passion in the Sims was building. I’d build homes, shops, restaurants, night clubs, schools, hospitals. In fact, I built entire neighbourhoods. And sub-neighbourhoods.

Talking of which… I think I will go back into the Sims one of these days and get started on another brand new neighbourhood. Oh, the fun!

Or maybe best not. I have so many projects to finish in and around the house, and building a Sims neighbourhood won’t get any of these done. There’s this little old side table I sanded and gave a new top today. It still needs a few coats of paint. And there’s the chalkboard/corkboard for the pantry. The floor to ceiling scratching post for the cats. The new kitchen. The dining table and chairs. So much to do, I’ve no time for my sims.

Forbidden activities.

My parents were quite OK with most of the things I did or wanted to do. They were fine with me racing my bike, climbing trees, and trying to catch frogs. Mum didn’t bat an eye when my little sister and I ruined our brand new trousers playing stuntmen. Even better, she got out her film camera and filmed our antics.

However, there was one thing I wasn’t allowed to do, which irked me greatly. Judo. No matter how I begged and pleaded, the answer was no. Until I was already in my early twenties and my younger sister enrolled in a self defense course for girls. Mum couldn’t possibly object to that. I soon followed suit. And after that we went on to do ju-jitsu. Then Dad, who had wanted to learn ju-jitsu for ages, joined too. Mum still didn’t really like it, but it was the three of us against her, so that settled it.

We went to ju-jitsu training three times a week, but loved it so much, those three hours weren’t nearly enough for us. We’d practice moves and even throws at home, in the living room, much to Mum’s chagrin.

Of course my sister and I were always covered in big black bruises, but we didn’t mind. We had the time of our lives.

Sadly, ju-jitsu has become a thing of the past and I won’t be able to pick it up again. The Ehlers-Danlos spoilt that for me. Pity, but at least I can still play with my power tools, so that’s what I do.

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