Tonight I was busy at work around the house while the kids were playing, relatively harmoniously, all together. I tuned in and out to what they were doing, keeping an ear out for high-level arguments, extreme mess making and physical harm, but was mostly delighted that they were leaving me alone to get some much needed housework out the way.
As I passed through their play space, it began to dawn on me that their game was oddly familiar. Some sort of ritual I had witnessed dozens of times. I slowed down to make sense of it, and this is what I saw: Joey was standing expectantly over the kids with a box in his hand, looking official. Lindsey, Sam and Julia were scribbling madly on pieces of paper. As I watched, they folded them and placed them in the box, taking a seat on the floor when they were done. Joey said, in a very familiar cadence, "I'll go tally the votes."
Darned if they weren't voting one of themselves out, Survivor-style. Out of what, I don't know (the family?! I hope not!) but it had something to do with sharing Joey's popcorn while we watched American Idol later in the evening, so I wasn't too alarmed.
There are two shows we watch as a family each week: Survivor and American Idol. We really enjoy this time, predicting together what will happen next. We especially love the challenges on Survivor. The kids talk about them all week. So, I knew they were in to Survivor, but I was nonetheless stunned at how dead-on Joey's impersonation of Jeff Probst was, and how perfectly the children carried out their role as voters without any instruction. They knew just what to do, each playing their part.
This reminds me of what sponges kids are. I figured they were just understanding the challenges, but the social aspects of the show are not lost on them either. They see everything, processing at a subconscious level as well as at the surface. I don't have a problem with what they absorb from a show like Survivor, but I should never assume that anything we watch with them is over their head.
I must say, Joey was not a bad host. Now, if one of them could just bring home the million dollars...
By the way, the Di Silvestri picks for the winners are nearly unanimous in our family: Blake (although after last night's performances the vote is in a minority split for Jordin) for American Idol and Yeoman for Survivor. We shall see!