Tina is compassionate, patient and heroic in her interactions with her animals. She no longer wants to be an Emperor Penguin (she was only little then), and the teacher, doctor and (thankfully!) NYC rock star dreams appear to have had their day, at least for now.
I suspect that what we’re seeing is preparation for a lifestyle of nurturing and gentle guidance.
I find it interesting that the dinosaur pictured above is neither devouring his contemporaries nor chasing Tina around the room. He is, in fact, learning the alphabet. It has amazed me for years how Tina puts her own spin on toys. A fancy pen becomes a mode of travel through space and time, a doll made by (another) grandma requires medical attention because her brains have migrated to her feet, and the stuffed animals (girls only) are tested to see if they’re pregnant.
Even the traditional teddy bear family pictured below is hiding in a cavern, rescued from hostile creatures by the writer and her granddaughter.
Tommy’s games are different. Although, like Tina, he’s the “good guy,” he is perhaps “working on” different traits–particularly assertiveness and inventiveness. Or maybe he’s just doing what comes naturally.
In real life, one of Tommy’s chief traits is compassion. I could see him in administration, perhaps of a non-profit organization.
Tommy has one relatively stable and slowly evolving role, while Tina’s roles are more varied and fluid. Tina sets up the parameters for the game, and I operate with relative freedom within them. Tommy tells me both what to say and what to do (could a career in PR be looming?).
Tommy and Tina both have chores, homework and activities, but I’m thankful their parents also allow them down time to explore their worlds–and their places in them–in exactly their own ways. I feel privileged to enter in, and sometimes wonder if I’m being given a sneak preview of what lies ahead.