06 October 2008


The shelves in the cubby room are filled with toys, puzzles and games and lots of art supplies. When we arrive at daycare in the morning, the boys will choose something from the shelf and bring it out to the tables. They usually choose a puzzle to start and I always have lots of drawings to bring home at the end of the day.

There are a few “big” toys on the top shelf – one is called “Hullabaloo” and another is “Elefun” or something similar. These are games which require space as there are lots of pieces to spread about and butterflies that fly out of the Elephant’s snout. Thankfully there’s lots of room in the old church basement that is our daycare.

Finn and Owen wanted to play Hullabaloo this morning, but Alice the daycare owner told them it was too “involved” and “needed adult supervision” and to put it back and choose something else.

This isn’t the first time she has not let them play with something. I’ve kind of brushed it off before – painting does require some preparation and planning. I get that. But I don’t understand what is wrong with letting the kids spread out on the floor and play a game together. If you don’t want them to play with something take it off the shelf!

But I didn’t say anything. I never do. It’s easier to just redirect and find something else the boys will enjoy.

I don’t remember my drive to work this morning. I got lost in a space in my head that I hadn’t visited for a long time.

When I was nine I stopped talking. My parents had divorced more than 4 years previous, but apparently when I was nine I finally decided it was a big deal. This was my silent scream for help. The school psychologist analyzed the situation and suggested to my mother that I see a professional to help me through my issues.

The picture I have in my head of Dr. Parmet is of a stodgy old curmudgeon of a man, dressed in tweed and sporting thick dark glasses. He smelled of cigarettes and books. After our initial formal “get to know you” meeting we settled in to a small room lined with shelves full of toys and games - many of which I had never played before. He asked me what I wanted to play. I scanned the shelves and meekly said, “I don’t know”.

He suggested Gin. I don’t know if I already knew how to play or if he taught me, but for an hour every Monday we would sit in that nearly silent room and play Gin.

Weeks went by and though I got very good at Gin I secretly longed to play “Mousetrap” – a game I had never played but had seen on TV. Oh how I wanted to play it. But every time the doctor asked me what I wanted to play I’d say “I don’t care” and we’d play Gin for an hour.

Time went by and I slowly gained enough confidence to tell him I wanted a change. I remember trying to psych myself up and get ready for that day. And finally it arrived.

We went in to the game room and, as usual, sat at the little yellow table.

"How are you today?" Fine.

I don’t remember anything we ever talked about that was of any substance.

"What would you like to play today?" {pause.} {deep breath.} {throat tightening}
Mmmousetrap. I’d like to play Mousetrap today.

Without skipping a beat, the doctor replied, "No, that’s a stupid game. Let’s play Gin".

I don’t know why I didn’t scream and give him the reaction I know he was looking for. I don’t think I’ll ever understand why I didn’t stand up and push the table away like I wanted to and say But you asked me what I wanted to do and I want to play Mousetrap!

No. I quietly accepted his answer and we played Gin.

I don’t think I’ll ever forgive him for not pushing me to speak my mind. I wonder how I would have dealt with certain events in my life if I had gotten mad that day. I had a lot to say, but I was afraid. I still have a lot to say, but it’s easier not to. And really, it just doesn’t matter that much any more.


PicaboMama said...

I bet that felt good to write. Thanks for sharing.

She She said...

Very powerful. You never know what's going to stay with you.

K2 said...

I believe everything and anything you have to say is worth saying. Timing is everything.
I will always listen.

A Buns Life said...

There may be times I regret HOW I say something, but I rarely regret the essence of what I said.....I spent most of my life too scared to speak my mind, I'll be damned if I won't do it now.

This is YOUR space.....you can use it.

noble pig said...

First, the word curmudgeon is simply not used enough. And that story is fabulous. I think you've found your voice.

Krysta said...

do you think he did because he didn't want to play or to try to force you to speak? either way it's pretty crappy.

melissa said...

Og my Holy Hannah!!!! Do you have MouseTrap at home. If not, get it on your way home and play it with your boys and husband! I personally HATE Mousetrap or any game with little pieces but SUCK IT UP cause the kids like it. I can't believe that old guffer wouldn't play MouseTrap with you. I wonder if he's still alive?

FishermansDaughter said...

The idea of you as a child crushed by someone supposed to be helping you made the Mamma Bear in me roar and the crushed child in me sob. I wish for you as many modern day equivalent rounds of Mousetrap that you can stand.

Trisha said...

What a dork the doctor was! You finally decided to say what you wanted and he told you that???? Nice guy!