"Closed. You can't come in," the little one tells another. He stands in the doorway of the Children's Teahouse, legs and arms, whole body and head, blocking the door likes a giant, cheerful X. 


That's the play cue. That is the beginning and the end for him. It is everything and it needs no answer. It is a game like Peek-a-boo for a two-year old. He knows the cues, but doesn't necessarily know what happens next. The what-happens-next has been in other people's hands. Now it is his turn to run the play arc from invitation to response and back again.

So, when he said that to this other child, she heard it and she had no time for that, thank you very much -- she bent her head to her work and butted him right out of the way. 

Done, done, and dusted.

"Closed! You can't come in!" is the signal for "I have a password" or "Here's my ticket." It is not a challenge or a permanently locked door. It certainly is not a time for an adult to swoop in and say, "Everyone gets to play," or "No blocking the door." We just need to close the loop.

"Here's my ticket," I say, handing over a piece of mulch. The X door folds itself up and lets me through.

The little head-butt-er bends to pick up a piece of mulch. She knows. So much work to head butt your way through a cheerful X body. No need for that now that she has a ticket! "Here's my ticket," she matches his cheerful smile with a chipper handing over of her mulch ticket.

Done, done, and dusted.