tav_behemoth (tav_behemoth) wrote,
tav_behemoth
tav_behemoth

Let's play baby

Reductionism in action: Given that roleplaying is a more-or-less-adult form of let's pretend, we ought to be able to understand it better by looking at the simpler form that prevails in childhood. The most popular RPG around the house these days is "you be the baby", in which Javi is the mommy and I'm the baby. A typical narrative:

JAVI: Baby hits all the time!
ME:  (pretend to hit him)
JAVI:  No, baby, no hitting! You have a time out now.
ME: Waaaah!
JAVI: (leading me into his room and closing the door) You're three months old, so you have a three minute time out. [Javi will be three years old on April 1; his time words are still a little off].
ME: Waa! Waa!
JAVI: Now you kick the door and try to come out.

This is a script we went through rather often a few weeks ago, with the roles reversed, during a spectacularly successful discipline campaign; now almost all of our time outs are pretend ones adminstered to me/"baby". One of the drives that this roleplaying is obviously addressing is empowerment; the desire to be the one who is dominant and in charge, when this is not at all the ordinary state of affairs. There's also a strong element of rehearsal: learning a likely chain of actions and consequences through repetition. Interestingly, Javi is a much more lenient "mommy" than I am a daddy -- he will often let me pretend to hit him for minutes on end, until I have to break character and say "Javi, babies get a time out the first time they hit".
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