Last night before bath time and bedtime, the boy and I spent a few hours drawing and cutting out paper-doll versions of our family. Naturally, the boy wanted me to depict everyone as Snow Troopers, but my drawing skills are limited, so they ended up looking like cartoon versions of us, which is to say, they were totally accurate portrayals.

The scene that we played out involved a surprise visit from Santa Claus to our ultra-modernist house, which the boy art directed. Apparently, he thinks our actual house is too suburban schmaltz for his refined tastes, so he designed and we built a minimalist paper house that’s more Gwathmey Siegel than 1920s Colonial.

As we were playing, I was surreptitiously trying to check my work e-mail. The boy said, “Dad, do you even know what playing means?” I said, Of course I do. The boy said, “Because checking e-mail is not playing.” I said, Oh snap! Schooled by a five-year-old! The boy said, “I’m not snapping, I’m playing. And so should you!” I said, Sorry, let’s play.

And so we did.

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