Saturday, August 30, 2008

Wild Thing - you make my heart sing

Sophie's favourite game right now is "Wild Thing" a game inspired by Maurice Sendak's classic book.

The rules are pretty simple. Sophie gets chased around the house by her father who "roars his terrible roar, gnashes his terrible teeth, and waves his terrible claws". Until she turns around, looks him in the eye and says "BE STILL" and then as an after-thought usually adds "Si tu plait" ("Please" in French). Then Fabien freezes, usually in mid-roar, until she has gained enough distance and she says "okay wild thing, you can continue", then the roaring, screaming and chasing starts again.

The book is more than 40 years old, and is beautifully illustrated, though the "wild things" actually do look quite scary. When we play this game, Sophie runs around screaming in a paroxysm of delight with that under-tone of fear inherent in any chasing game.

If we wished to include any subliminal message, I suppose it would be this - that when the big scary monster with horns and claws is chasing you, the hard thing to do is to turn around and look at it in the eye. However, once you do that, perhaps you can master it.

Leaving aside any values transmission nonsense which I am probably subjecting to over-analysis - we play this game all the time because it's such great fun.

And when I spend a Saturday morning looking at my husband chasing our daughter behind the sofa and listen to her authoratiative "BE STILL!" I feel a strange sense of contentment (and hear the Troggs/Jimi Hendrix playing in the background).

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