Peter says, Simon says

black and white photograph of baby thrown up in air (c) Katrien Vander Straeten

  • A couple of weeks ago 

We had a long wait at the pizza place and Mama had forgotten to bring her bag of tricks – a folder with coloring sheets, crayons, puzzles, a couple of thin books, and a Manush (playmobil man).

Amie became restless – no patience whatsoever. “I want pizza! I want pizza!” and then

Baba suggested: “Let’s play a game. If Simon says it, you do it. If Peter says it, you don’t! Simon says, touch your nose.”

Amie touched her nose.

Baba: “Peter says, put your hand on your head.”

Amie put her hand on your head. Baba gave her a look.

“No-oo!” she yelled, and pulled her hand back.

And so on, until for the so-manieth time Baba indicated that she had done something that Peter had requested.

Amie: “But I love Peter!”

Baba: “You love Peter?”

Amie: “I love him!”

She gave herself a big hug.

Baba, a bit at a loss: “Okay, that might be so, but you still can’t listen to anything he says!”

  • Peter says, Simon says today

We’ve played the game on and off, usually at how request. She still immediately does what Peter says (after all, she loves him), but most of the time she realizes her mistake without the need for a look or word from us, and then retracts her action, yelling “No-oo!”

We’re teaching her to think before she acts. But I fear we are also dooming her love for Peter…

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