Christina M. Currie: It’s only make believe
It’s a fantasy world at my house. Guess that happens when you have children.
Usually I just observe and marvel at the depths of my children’s imaginations, but this week I lost my distance and got sucked into participating.
“We’ll play house,” Katie said.
Yeah, that’s what I want to do – “play” house. Generally, I’m too busy living house to play it.
But they were so excited to have a new player that I couldn’t say no.
Turns out, it’s not such a bad game. Kind of like going on vacation.
“You can be the baby,” 6-year-old Nikki told me.
Then she brought me a blanket, a pillow and a teddy bear. She reclined my chair and filled my glass of water.
She took off my shoes and decided to give me a foot rub.
“I’m good at this,” she told me.
I asked how she learned (foot rubs certainly aren’t part of my parenting technique). She shrugged, “I don’t know, I just know.”
So, she’d rub my feet for about a second, switch to Katie’s feet and then move on to the teddy bear’s. It was like assembly line foot rubs, but in the face of such pampering, you don’t complain.
My willing participation in that scenario drew me in to others. I’ve been braiding doll hair, tending a small puppy (Nikki) and a kitten (Katie) and floated through outer space.
I was not asked to participate when they decided to “pretend” they were cleaning. Probably because I was too busy actually cleaning.
They shut themselves in the bathroom, which should have set off alarm bells, but :
When I stepped in to check on them, I went sliding across a soaking wet floor, barely glimpsing the streak-covered mirror. Using a small spray bottle with water on it, they’d sprayed the entire bathroom. Evidently, the spraying part was much more fun than the scrubbing part.
My anger was not pretend.
But, the coup de gras of our imaginary games was Nikki.
She was letting me listen to the conversation she was orchestrating between a stuffed bear and a stuffed duck. To be honest, I wasn’t paying much attention. That is, until the duck said threateningly, “I’m gonna kick your (expletive).”
My eyes bulged. My draw dropped.
Remember, Nikki is so sweet, loving and gentle that most people think she’s not really mine.
“It’s just for PRETEND, Mom.”
She thought I was in shock because of the violence. It didn’t occur to her that the language is what really stopped my heart.
We had a nice discussion about both language and violence. I was frank and stern.
I was mostly pretending.
After she nodded gravely, said that she understood and rounded the corner, the laughter bubbled forth.
The bear could’ve taken the duck in a heartbeat.
I know, I know.
I’m just pretending.
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