The other day from my lounge station on the couch, I observed a nice game of "play house" taking place (a rarity--usually I'm changing a diaper, cleaning a mess, chasing someone, etc.) Three-year-old Laura and 19-month-old twins Lizzy and Julia were in various stages of feeding, bathing and caring for baby dolls (a rarity--usually they are fighting, screaming, running away from me, etc.)
"Mom, I'm taking my baby grocery shopping," Laura informed me. "Okay," I acknowledged, watching here wheel her baby doll around in a stroller. Only one baby, I thought, dang, she's got it easy! I resisted a strong urge to remind her to pack snacks, a sippy cup, diapers and wipes ... after all, this is only "play house." This is not "Erin's-game-of-house." But that got me thinking. Play house seems so much more lucrative sometimes than Erin's-game-of-house. Ya, ya, I know--imaginary play is supposed to be more fun--hence the word i-m-a-g-i-n-a-r-y.
Still, playing house reminded me of a time during my childhood (and awkwardly, even tween years) when I spent hours devoted to pushing my own dolls around. I could handle 2, 3, 4+ dolls at a time--no problemo. I remember my folks smiling and complimenting me on my mothering capabilities, "Oh how sweet, look at what a great job you're doing feeding your babies," they would say. They didn't shout, "You better put bibs on those babies" or "you better give them all the same thing or you'll soon have a food fight" or "did you check to see how many preservatives are in that baby food?"
Back on the couch, I swallowed my bittersweet memories of feeding dolls once a day or even once a week and never changing a "real" diaper. Meanwhile, the twins antagonized one another in grunting protests over who was the rightful mommy of a stuffed Elmo. Again, I refrained from mentioning they might want to buy Elmo's food in bulk next time they go shopping. Why not let them have their fun for now ... far be it from me to spoil a good game of house.