my quote of the moment: "if you can attain repose and calm, believe that you have seized happiness." ~julie-jeanne-eleonore de lespinasse

March 25, 2011

things no one ever warns you about

my boys are close. close in age (only 15 months apart), close in size, and physically close because they share a room and all their toys.

they also have vivid imaginations. though, when lumpy was younger, i was worried because he really wasn't very good with imaginative play. he never really initiated any games, he always let bumble create whole worlds and he would just join in. they even shared an imaginary friend that bumble made up.

her name was maya, and she was a yellow dinosaur who was sometimes bigger than them, and other times she could fit in their pocket. usually one of them had to call her on one of the toy phones so that she could come over. one of the more surreal fights i had to break up was when lumpy said that bumble wouldn't let him talk to maya on the phone anymore, that she wasn't allowed to be his friend, she was only bumble's.

it was one of those moments in parenting they really don't warn you about. and one of those moments that i really wasn't sure what to do. if they had been fighting over a physical toy, i could handle that. i've had much experience with that. fighting over an imaginary friend's affections was something i wasn't prepared to deal with.

eventually lumpy created his own set of imaginary friends. he called them his "ant friends," because, realist that he is, they were imaginary ants. he would call them and talk to them and play with them. he would pretend they were driving his matchbox cars and living in the lego cities that he'd build. he then took it even further, and started blaming his ant friends for leaving his toys out when he was supposed to put them away.

my boys, creative like they are, still have imaginary fights that they want me to deal with. they've both become very interested in transformers, and now like to pretend that they are transformers fighting other transformers. but sometimes they can't agree on the rules of the fight, and one will say that they are on different sides and that they have to pretend to shoot at each other. then the other will say that they are still on the same side fighting an imaginary enemy. or one found a gun that makes the other one lose power and that means he's winning and the other is losing. or there are any number of other arguments about the details of their imaginary world.

and they come to me to make peace. usually i give them the age-old line that if they can't play nice, they shouldn't play together at all. or i try to distract them with a puzzle or board game or art project.

the best part is when they have these imaginary fights when my hubby is home and awake. because after they explain why they're fighting and what is going on, he looks at me and asks "really?"

because he can't believe this is what they fight about.

and i answer with "yes, really."

because this is what my life has become.

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