The realms of imaginative play are a tricky place to navigate with a toddler. Go too realistic with your giant FEE FI FO FUM and they’ll probably end up weeing everywhere (yes I speak with experience), not realistic enough and they’ll just pull a massive tantrum. Leave them unsupervised and they’ll pretend to be mummy and try and brush your babies non existent teeth (note Neve was not impressed with this one) and god forbid you actually get it right and pull off an Oscar worthy performance – you’ll be doing the Mr Bulls voice for hours on end while Rapunzel phones you to fix her broken Lego tower with your baby rattle hammer, secretly counting down the hours till bedtime and whispering ‘for f**ks sake’ under your breath every time the word again is screeched.
Then comes the dressing up- I blame Nanna for this one. Nanna’s house is literally Georgia’s favourite place to go; ask her where she wants to go and she’ll say Nanna’s. Nanna’s house means making dens, eating sweets, having chocolate biscuits, face painting, pretty much ruling the roost for Georgia and her cousins. It was also home to the first ‘Elsa dress’ DUN DUN DUUN- cue having to play Let It Go 50 million times and address your daughter as Queen Elsa.
The dressing up then somehow seemed to infiltrate into our house. Now don’t get me wrong, I completely get the benefits of imaginative play. It’s lovely to see Georgia’s imagination blossom, but getting your kids dressed for the day and into jammys at night is a chore in itself- changing from Moana to Sleeping Beauty to Anna to Rapunzel to Angelina fricking Ballerina all before I’ve even managed to get myself dressed, let alone have a sip of my precious cup of tea, is just taking the piss! But us Mumma’s do it, because we love them and let’s face it they look adorable. Who could say no to this face?!
There’s also the third child to contend with- the husband. The husband must be supervised during imaginative play. The husband is the reason your toddler pulls her knickers down, sticks her arse in your face and pretend farts on you. The husband likes to make swords and guns out of the lego and encourage the toddler to shoot or hit you. The husband takes great pleasure in making the middle finger out of Lego and following you round the house with it. The husband never thinks of the safety aspects during pretend play; he likes to live life on the edge. He puts the small, vulnerable, real life baby in the play pram (the one with the left wheel that often falls off), then encourages the toddler (who is not very good at steering said pram) to push her round the house while he watches sky sports news. When I walked down the stairs I actually saw the pram roll past me, real life baby inside, because the husband was trying to see if he could push it far enough to reach the end of the hallway. The third child is the ultimate tester of patience…
What really takes the biscuit is when imaginative play worms it’s way into bed time. Georgia has a very vivid imagination and is also an absolute wimp (takes after her Mumma)- not a winning combination, so we have to be really careful about what she reads or watches. After endless nights checking the gruffalo isn’t in her wardrobe, there isn’t a wolf in her tent or trying to convince her that a dragon definitely wouldn’t fit under her bed we’ve learnt to steer clear of anything she could potentially find scary. That and we tell her we’ll sit outside her door while she falls asleep then quickly creep downstairs and grab a glass of wine. Cheers to all the parents who survived another day of imaginative play!