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Unconventional Fun


There’s a Sandra Boynton book called Blue Hat, Green Hat. This one features four animals wearing different colored clothing. The turkey is the oops character. Three animals wearing socks on their feet while the turkey wears the socks on his hands. Oops! Three animals wearing a hooded jacket on their backs while the turkey wears the hooded jacket on his front. Oops! That’s how Maggie plays (and will attempt to dress). I think the career Maggie has shown the most aptitude for is product testing. She has a knack for figuring out all kinds of ways to play with toys and other objects that defy any observable intention from the manufacturer. She figures out what I’m going to call the “oops” strategy.


Who needs to sit on a swing to enjoy it? Instead, she plays with the swing, sometimes trying to rest her belly on it or push it against her hands. Her standing push-ups against the swings make me wonder whether she’ll try to do push-ups with her feet on the swing one day.


Who needs to play with a road rug with the road and the cars along the track? Instead, she flips it upside, laying full body against the textured bottom, pressing her cheek, hands, and feet, stroking the texture. Who needs to roll the cars on their wheels? Instead, she rolls them on their side against the texture, listening for the most subtle vibrations from this motion.


Who needs to stack rings when on wooden floors, they magically turn into air hockey pucks. Smack and slide. Repeat, repeat.


Who needs to throw or kick a ball? Balls make great chairs. You bounce your bottom on a ball if you’re near a wall for support.


Sometimes, I watch Maggie and I’m enthralled. I’ll give her a random object, just to see what she does with it. Maggie is not bound down by conventions. She does not care how something is supposed to be played with. She does not give a hoot about social conventions or rules or someone else’s intention. She will figure out the “oops” strategy and play with it in her unconventional fun Maggie way.


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