Creating something from nothing

Two of my favorite qualities of The Big Sis are her drive to create, and her natural leadership skills. I will confess here that we don’t really do arts and crafts at home — it’s just not one of those things that I’m good at or find pleasure in, and I figure she has other outlets for it at school and at her after-school program. She has truly let herself shine in those areas recently, taking the lead on such projects at her after-school program and when playing with neighborhood kids.

The Big Sis loves to create certain real-life scenarios: a beauty shop, a play, an art museum, a carnival, and more. And she takes care of all the detailed planning from top to bottom. The art museum has a list of rules on the door. The play has rehearsals scheduled and signs to advertise the performance. The beauty shop has construction-paper cash and even coupons. Nearly all props are made from items that would have otherwise been recycled or thrown away. And those examples are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to her thoroughness in creating these setups.

I have to say, I absolutely love that she has the drive to do this, and I love playing along as a character in her setting once she has everything set up. I was always the kind of kid who loved pretend play, as long as it was based in reality; I was more likely to play teacher or grocery store with my sister than I was to pretend to be a princess fighting off a dragon. (I even used to get annoyed at her when she’d make her Barbies hover in midair when having a conversation. I strongly felt they should be standing with their feet on the ground, like real people do.)

I’m not opposed to The Big Sis venturing to imaginary worlds not constrained by reality — in fact, I want her to engage in that from time to time — but I have to admit that her reality-based pretend play strikes a chord with me because it reaches back to my own childhood and reminds me just how much I enjoyed all of that — how much fun there can be within what can now be mundane tasks. (Case in point: For several years, I asked for a cash register for Christmas, which I never got. I did, however, get an adding machine one year, and that was almost as good. Hey, when a girl needs a cash register, she does what she can to improvise!)
The Little Sis, aka Ms. Go-Along-With-Everything, will play along with The Big Sis’s plans, but I do wonder what style of pretend play she’ll take on as she gets older herself.
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