I just went to Minnesota to see an art exhibit and also to see some friends and family. One member of my family there is three years old. I hadn’t seen her since Christmas. Suddenly she’s not a cute, tiny, shy thing. Now she’s a cute, tiny drill sergeant.
She discovered early in the visit that I would do things that she told me to do. I found myself stretching out on my stomach on the floor and flailing my arms (Swim! Swim!) and then standing up and sitting down a lot of times. (Now you’re all dry! Stand up! Stand up!) She had small fleece blanket that was alternatively a sprinkler (or maybe a tsunami machine?) and a hair dryer. Sometimes I was supposed to hold the blanket, push invisible buttons, and then pretend the blanket was doing . . . . something.
While this was exhausting, I found it very reassuring. I remember games like this. I had an invisible mouse that lived in an invisible, knitted, spherical house. I was the maniacal director of endless games of ‘Harriet Tubman and the Spaceships’. (Um, all I can say about that one is that rapid travel through time and space would have made Harriet Tubman’s job a lot easier in my six year old opinion.)
Also reassuring was the fact that my tiny cousin didn’t stare at me in confusion or give up on me when I pushed the wrong invisible button or sprayed the fleece blanket instead of waving it or whatever. She just shouted no! no! over there! over there! As long as she had my attention, everything was A OK.
Apparently I can still play pretending games and not be lame. Cool.