Last weekend was Father’s Day and I had a lovely Grandfather’s Day present. All the grown-ups have gone off to do their thing and we were left to our own devices at 170. We decided to have an all-out blitz on bad people and robbers.
I built you a robber who hid under a pillow in the upstairs bedroom. I must admit you were quite impressed with him. Particularly the red.
The red robber
You decided to build some cannons out of the Lego to give us some “red power”. The cannons were build predominantly of red Lego.
When I asked you why, you said “Because the bad person is red.”
My systems theory colleagues will be pleased to know that, at the age of three, you have already begun to grasp the fundamental principles of Ross Ashby’s Law of Requisite Variety.
We had to creep up on him very quietly. After we captured him a number of times, you put him in your bed for a rest. You climbed in amongst your soft toys and told me that you were driving a speedboat and chasing some more bad people who were on a boat.
I got my chair and sat next to you.
“Are the bad people in the speedboat going off to bury the treasure on an island?” I asked.
You digested this question from moment and said, “Only pirates bury treasure. Can you get me some treasure, Papa?”
” I think so. I will go and look.” I went next door and found a perspex paperweight and a small jewelry box and brought it through to you.
You looked at them, “Gold!”
“I need to put on my diving mask and dive for some more treasure.” You struggled into your diving mask and swam through next door and came back with a large box/treasure chest full of Lego and dumped it on the speedboat.
“Now I need some more treasure from a long way down.”
You set off down the stairs.
“Do you need me to help you?”
“No I’m all right.” You returned a few minutes later with your bug catcher filled with tan bark which you added to the treasure trove.
“Where robbers get the treasure from, Papa?”
“I think they get this from the toyshop, and this from the Art Gallery, and this from the Museum,” I said indicating each piece of the treasure.
“I think I need some more treasure,” you said and went off and got some books from the bookshelf. You then sat down and began to read them.
Your attention was now diverted to some wood that was on the bedroom floor.
“I think this will make a big bed,” you said. Brandon, your current hero, is building some shelves in your bedroom. “I will draw him some instructions.”
Instructions for a big bed
Yesterday, you decided that you needed a drill that made the same noise as Brandon’s and once we had bought you one, you went out and started helping with the shelving in the annex.
Some serious drilling and plier work
You spent a good proportion of the afternoon drilling and even doing some rescue drilling while Nana Di was trapped in the toilet.
Later at bath time, you and I were building dinosaurs in the bath and Nana Di began explaining how an asteroid had wiped out the dinosaurs. I have never seen you so look perplexed. You are probably not ready for the idea that dinosaurs aren’t around more. They are fairly ubiquitous in various realistic and unrealistic forms.
And I think we have done small children like you a grave disservice when we give you books, even well-intentioned books, that show humans and dinosaurs together.
And as you grow older, you will come in contact with people who really do think that dinosaurs and humans lived together on earth. I know you are surrounded by people who will ensure that you are brought up understanding that these people are all idiots.
Later that evening, you brought Nana Di a picture book of a little boy and a dinosaur together which showed that they hadn’t been wiped out. And the BBC program “Andy’s Prehistoric Adventure”, which absolutely fascinates you, probably doesn’t help either because time travel is not possible and you can’t talk to dinosaurs.
You and Nana Di set off on a prehistoric adventure with Andy
And suddenly I realised that there is so much that a small boy needs to understand.
Later, going home in the car, you began to explain the story of the asteroid. You started the story four or five times but you could only begin the first sentence. Finally you said, “I think it was only a toy astroid.”
And I think that is a pretty good explanation coming from a three year old boy.