Smooth Sailing

Marky arrived at Early Arrival so find Thomas playing with the blocks in Studio Blue.
Do you want to make a place to park the cars?
No, said Thomas, Let’s make a pirate ship.
M – OK.  I’m going to make jet booster.
T – Good. I’m getting two double rockets.
M – I’m making the engine actually, and there’s jet boosters on the engine.
T – I have a jet launcher.  It’s gonna be right under the ship.
The boys continue to build, working independently, commenting as they progess.
M – I made – so these are the jet boosters here and I made a truck.
T – OK.  (Walking by the books) Here’s the Black Rabbit, we’ll pack it.
M – We’ll pack it in our trunk.
T – I’m gonna press the button to go up.
M – We have to go to the base first (he moves to another part of the studio).  This is our base.
T – No.  We don’t have a base.
M- We have a ship and a base.
T – I prefer to go back to the ship.
M – Pretend we have….(the boys move back to the ship)… wanna go fighting?  These are our cannonballs.
T – I’m getting my gi-normous sword and my gi-normous gun.
M – I’m getting one.
T – There’s one on the ship.
M – Nah, I want two of these.
T – OK.
M – I’m going to pack our gold.
T – The gold is in the front.  We have to hide it from people.  We take it and hide it.  Where do I pack my sword?
M – In the trunk.  Shiver me timbers.  Aye, aye Cap’n.

Charlie N arrived while the boys were building and after reading a couple of stories with me and watching for a short time, she walked over to join them.  Marky had shown Thomas how to drive and was now about to take the controls, Thomas was sitting on the boat.  Charlotte sat down behind Thomas.
‘I have to sit in the way back’, she said.  ‘Pretend girls have to sit in the way back.’
Charlie’s choice of seat was logical – it was where there was space, the reason she gave surprised me.  Why would a girl have to sit in the back I asked?
That’s just how it’s supposed to be…..that’s why I’m sitting in the back.
Oh, I didn’t know that?  I’m a girl. I feel like if I were a pirate girl I could drive the ship.
Marky has an idea – Pretend you’re a pirate kid, you have to stay on the ship.
Thomas – Yeah, stay on the ship then you won’t get eaten by a shark or something.

As Thomas and Marky played I was interested in how easily they worked together but independently on the same idea. Though they didn’t discuss how to proceed, asking ‘what if, should we, how about’, they were able to quickly switch from one idea to another, or to amend their suggestion if the other didn’t like it.  They built from opposite ends of the ship but it was one.  There were no conflicts, no disappointment if an idea was not accepted.  Charlie joined the play smoothly but she surprised me with her statement and I challenged it, making waves where there had been none.  Marky and Thomas quickly offered me a solution.  I could argue that a girl could drive, but there is no arguing that a kid has to be kept safe from being eaten by a shark!  The three of them were then free to continue in their play.  That’s just how it’s supposed to be.