Tiny Pants wanted a play date with a new friend from school. Tiny Pants is six, so a play date requires Mama intervention. Because he doesn’t want to be dropped off alone anywhere, it means I have to go sit and make small talk with some parent for a few hours when really, all both of us want to do is ignore our children and take a nap. But Tiny Pants doesn’t have a lot of friends, so I felt this was important.
“Where do you want to have this play date?” I asked him. “Our house, his house, or a park?”
“Our house. So he can see my new drum set,” he replied.
This sounds logical. We just watched the movie School of Rock and Tiny Pants is all hyped up on music right now. Only one problem – we don’t own a drum set. I raised this valid point, but Tiny was not to be swayed. “We will have a drum set by this afternoon,” he told me confidently.
Let me tell you something about a six year old with a yearning and a vision. They know exactly what they want to create, and they have less than zero ability to make it happen. Building a drum set meant I will have to spend a lot of time on my hands and knees with a roll of tape while he gets bored and wanders off. But not this time. This time I was going to make him do the work.
“So, what are we going to use for drums?”
“Your mixing bowls. I need all of them.”
Well, I know a little bit about kitchen utensils that vanish into the basement and are never seen again. They go the way of socks in the laundry, and I like my mixing bowls. I even use them occasionally in the kitchen, to mix things. I consider them mine in that non-sharing way we tell our children is selfish. Six year olds often regress their parents into toddlers screaming “Mine! No touchy-touchy!” It happens, even to some of us who think we know something about speaking in complete sentences and pride ourselves on our ability to reason and form compelling arguments. We settled on some unused plastic boxes.
“How are we going to do this?” I asked, thinking we meant him and I.
“Tape, Lots of tape.”
Lots of tape in the hands of a six year old can get ugly, and has resulted in children becoming completely entangled with the cat in the past. Fine, I’d do it.
We taped, we, in this case, meaning Mama. I made him hold things together. We taped some more. We dismantled the hockey net to use its poles. We taped symbols and bongos into an interesting contraption. We used rocks to hold the flimsy bases down. And it worked just fine. We wound up with a recognizable, reasonably functional drum set.
Until his older brother took a turn, and hit it so hard he completely dismantled everything in one song. “Mama, I need to fix my drum set before the play date…” Sigh. Better buy more tape.