April 3, 2013 by Julia
A couple of days ago I sat down to play Harry Potter Legos with Fiona, like I do almost every weekday afternoon while Jack naps. I’ve found that it’s more effective to play with her first, before checking off my list of housewifely duties or trying to write.
Otherwise she is like a gnat, buzzing in my ear, saying “play. Play. PLAY!” She says it like that: one word. Her other favorite one-word plea is “TREEEEEAAT!!!!” in a screechy voice. Needless to say, these entreaties have the opposite effect on me that she desires. In fact, the minute she starts reciting, “Play! Play! Play!” I’d much rather do anything but. So I try to start before I get annoyed, just so we can get off on a positive note, rather than a “FINE, I’ll quit this super important adult task and I’m so tired and I can’t believe you’re insisting I do this right after I took you to the playground and gave you ice cream!” one.
This time the scene she had prepared for us was pretty funny, though. Harry Potter’s Lego head was lying on a plate in Hagrid’s house. I kind of have a thing for decapitated heads. In the right context, they are hilarious. So naturally I started laughing. She told me to stop. I wasn’t even allowed to smile at it.
I protested, “You know that’s funny, Fiona.” “NO, it’s not, Mommy,” she said, annoyed.
“Fine, I’ll just frown at it then,” I said, although I couldn’t hold a frown for longer than a second; the giggles were out of control. “Don’t frown, either!” she said. “Just look at it with a regular face.” She then completely relaxed her own face and gazed calmly at the Harry Potter Lego head on the plate. I watched the corners of her mouth go slightly up, and then down, and then back up. Such a display of emotional balance! I don’t know how she managed it. Finally, I broke her down, though. She couldn’t keep her mouth in a straight line forever.
We couldn’t waste precious Jacknaptime just staring at the head and making faces, though. We needed to establish our storyline. Fiona said, “Harry’s going to play a trick on the other guys and give them this head on a plate, like it’s their breakfast.” I asked, “So, is the head alive and talking or is it…not alive?” (Our generation of parents doesn’t like to use the word “dead” around kids much, because we’re a bunch of wimps.) “It’s not talking,” she said. I took this to mean that we would consider the head to be an inanimate object.
Also, to clarify, we have a bunch of identical Harry Potter Lego figures (they always come with every HP building set), so it was quite feasible for Harry to offer his own head for breakfast. Also, this action was in character for him because we like to make Harry the goofy trickster, the troublemaker, the unreasonable one, the absurd one – basically your average five-year-old’s id.
So I made Harry walk up to Ron and Hermione and say, “Guys, this head is your breakfast. I made it special for you. It’s really healthy and delicious, guys! You have to try it!”
Fiona made Hermione say, “Um, Harry…? We can’t eat a head. That’s gross.”
Harry said, “GUYS! You HAVE to eat this!! Now!! Take a bite!! It’s good!”
Ron said, “We don’t want to eat it, Harry, and you can’t make us! YOU eat it, if it’s so good!”
Harry said, “Um, I don’t really want to right now. It doesn’t look that good to me. But you guys HAVE to.”
Fiona paused and said to me, in all seriousness: “Okay. Now Hermione is going to take a bite of the head and then fall down and be unconscious.”
After another giggling fit, I asked why she would be unconscious.
“Because it’s a poisonous,” Fiona said.
“You mean a poisonous head?” I asked.
So we did all that and I could not stop laughing the whole time. But you’ll be glad to know the doctor had just the right potion to revive Hermione. No permanent damage done.
This episode brought back memories of how I most enjoyed playing Barbies with my little sister when we were elementary-school-aged. I’d detach the head of our most ratty-haired Barbie and make it haunt all the others. She didn’t appreciate the hilarity of it at the time. But playing things straight would’ve been boring, and it was really funny, I swear.
(All photos are re-enactments of actual events. Dennis came downstairs to find me with a glass of wine, setting them up at 10:30 pm. He declared that I’ve finally lost my mind.)