I let my sweet little Sister have a play date with one of her favorite friends today. She's getting a sort of tight look to her face that I recognize from last year when she was super-stressed about school. Maybe it's the holidays and all her expectations. Maybe this damn diorama of Poland that she's supposed to work on a little bit everyday til next week's due date that she apparently despises doing. Maybe it's that I've tried to rush her out the door too often lately in the mornings. But--and I didnt' know this could happen--this kid seems a little stressed, so a play date was in order.
Here was the conversation with her friend as we walked home from school:
Friend: Let's pretend like we're kittens.
Sister: O.k., like jaguar kittens.
Friend: Yeah, big cat kittens. And we like to play in water (said as they splashed through gutter puddles), which is what makes us so interesting.
Sister: Yeah. But actually big cats like to play in water.
Friend: Yeah. And pretend that we don't know where our mothers are.
Sister: Yeah, and pretend that I only have 1 claw left on each of my paws.
Friend: But you usually have 4.
Sister: Yeah, but I only have 1 now.
Sister: (pause) 'Cause one time when I was a baby I had to fight a pterodactyl.
Sister: I had to fight this pterodactyl and I kept losing the claws on my paws until there was just one left. And then I stabbed him in the neck with them.
Friend: And after that we couldn't find our mothers anywhere. We didn't know if the pterodactyl had eaten them or maybe locked them up in his cave.
Sister: Yeah. But afterwards we found some spotted furs and some bones. There were skulls and bones.
Sister: I took the skull and you took one of the foot bones.
Friend: Yeah, and we used them for sword-fighting.
Sister: Yeah, we used some for chewing on and some for sword-fighting.
I love these conversations, when she's playing with a friend who will go the whole "let's pretend" way with her. They check with me now and then, glancing over at me to see if I'm reacting at all to the more outrageous parts of the tale, but I never do. I just keep pushing the baby's stroller along, pretending to enjoy the sun and the breeze blowing down our street.