The funny thing about kids playing make-believe is how their wild imaginations half convince them they’re in a real scenario.
You know how you sometimes wake up from a vivid dream half-confused for a moment about whether the dream really happened, even though you know you’re in your own bed? I’m guessing the kid pretend world feels something like that.
My daughter Brontë has been acting out owning a McDonald’s lately. She comes to take my order, walks off into the “kitchen” to fix it up, then comes back to serve me food and ask if it’s any good.
I take bites of invisible food, tell her it’s delicious, and she seems genuinely pleased.
This was fun for the first fifty times or so, but today I just had to flip the script. I couldn’t resist the temptation to mess with her head any longer…
Brontë: Okay, I got a McDonalds, mama. What do you want to order?
Me: Marshmallow snake juice.
(Brontë stops, stares into space, then gives me a crazed look.)
Brontë: That’s… NOT good. Why would you order that? I bring you chocolate milk instead.
Me (pretending to be disappointed): Psh… alright.
Brontë: Okay, chocolate milk. Now, what do you want to eat?
Me: Poop cake.
Brontë (furious): Well I don’t… HEY, I NOT make POOP CAKE, mama! Why you want to eat poop cake!?
(She sighs while trying to figure out how to deal with her ridiculous customer.)
Brontë: Okay, look… maybe I make pee cake for you. But it’s not really pee, it’s made of coconuts. That’s what you eat, okay?
(She runs off and pretends to make a cake before walking back and handing it to me. I pretend to take a bite of invisible cake as she watches intently.)
Me: EWW, It tastes like pee!
Brontë (laughing while prancing away): It tastes like pee, but it’s really coconuts! I’m a good cook.
Okay, that was fun. It even seemed to inspire greater creativity.
I’m just crossing my fingers that she won’t take me seriously someday.