I LOVE that my daughter has a vivid imagination. I also DON'T LOVE that my daughter has a vivid imagination. And I really DON'T LOVE that I DON'T LOVE that my daughter has a vivid imagination.
Are you dizzy yet?
Well, I'm dizzy too. Emmy is CONSTANTLY pretending to be fictitious characters. At any given moment in the day, she'll be pretending to be Dora the Explorer, The Little Mermaid, a magical kitty cat, a ballerina, Cinderella, a dinosaur, a baby, or one of many other characters she has in her “repetoire”.
That's all fine and good. I don't mind that Emmy's character changes (and accompanying costume changes) are far more frequent than Oren's diaper changes. I remember being a kid, and how much I loved pretending to be someone or something with a lifestyle far more exotic than my own (growing up in Upstate New York was fun, but it didn't compare to the life of a T-Rex).
What I DO mind, just a little, is having to play ALL of the supporting characters to Emmy's starring roles. During the twelve waking hours of Em's day, I am generally asked to take on the identities of about 72 different secondary roles.
Here are just a few of the characters I was asked to play yesterday: Mean Mama (from Cinderella), both Evil Sisters (from Cinderella), The Prince (from Cinderella), The Mouse (from Cinderella), Flounder (from The Little Mermaid), Sebastian (from The Little Mermaid), The Prince (from The Little Mermaid), Mean Dada (from The Little Mermaid), a mama dinosaur, a baby dinosaur, Swiper the Fox (from Dora), a ballerina, a mama kitty cat, a mama frog, the three bears (in Goldilocks), a beaver, and – TOTALLY RANDOM - a prickly thorn bush.
Now, I love being the kind of mom who feels comfortable playing imaginary games with my daughter. It is not always easy for me to pause my adult brain, full of shopping lists and chores that need to get done, and enter my daughter's imaginary universe. But I try. I actually try to emulate my grandmother, who was always able and more than willing to play Barbie games with my sister and I for hours on end, and was AMAZING at taking on any character we asked her to play in our childhood imaginary games.
But, as much as I love actively fostering Em's imagination, by the end of the day, my head is absolutely spinning, and I have ZERO imagination left. ZERO.
I worry about endurance. I mean, how long I can last at this? Em's only been into constant role playing for a few weeks now, and I am already exhausted. I'm already asking her to “take ten,” so I can catch my breath and regroup before assuming the character of prickly thorn bush. Is it going to be possible for me to make it through her childhood years without having a complete identity crisis? Or am I one day going to wake up, convinced that I am actually a talking dinosaur?
I'd like to think I can at least make it through the next few months. I figure that once Oren has developed a few more words, and becomes more of a playmate for Em, HE'LL gladly play whatever sidekick Emmy wants him to play, and I will once again be able to just be plain old MAMA.
Parenting with imagination. Or at least trying.