Child’s Play

by bdhesse

“Why are you playing with that?” the little girl asked.
“I like it,” the older child sitting next to her replied.
I watched the children from my vantage point on the bench. I wanted to see what would come of this discussion.
“You can’t play with it, you know,” the girl said.
“Yes I can,” the other replied. “I’m playing with it right now.”
“But that’s a boy toy,” the girl whined.
“It doesn’t look like a boy,” the older child said mockingly.
The little girl stuck her tongue out. “I didn’t say it was a boy,” she said. “I said it’s a boy toy.”
The older child gave the younger a half-smile. “Well,” they said. “If it doesn’t need to be a boy to be a boy toy, then how do you know that it’s a boy toy?”
“Because only boys play with them,” the girl replied.
“But I’m playing with it,” the older child said.
“Yeah, but you shouldn’t” the girl said.
“Why not?” the older child asked.
“Because it’s a boy toy!” the girl said in frusteration.
The older child looked perplexed. “That makes no sense,” they replied. “A boy toy is a toy that only boys play with, so if I’m not a boy and I play with it, then it can’t be a boy toy. So why can’t I play with it?”
The little girl screamed and stormed away from the older child.
I couldn’t help but laugh as I watched.
The older child turned to look at me with shinning eyes. “Mommy, don’t laugh,” they scolded me gently. “You’ll hurt her feelings.”