Baby, you can drive my car

Petra's car

Petra’s car

The imaginative play thing has come on strong this summer. Petra has recently moved beyond simply joining Silas in what he’s playing, but also is creating on her own and inviting him to join her. One day, she took a little doll blanket and set up her dolls on it, and then informed Silas that she was having a picnic. “Come picnic, Brother?” He jumped right in, making up a complicated meal of play food and figuring out who should get each piece.

Another day, Petra took a piece of cardboard out of the recycling, drew a bunch of lunatic circles on it, and set it up in front of her. She found two more pieces of cardboard and arranged them carefully. Sitting on one, she turned to Silas: “Come for ride in a car, Brother?” He came over, and she showed him where he should sit on the other piece of cardboard. “Buckle up!” she told him, and then very clearly started the car, backed up out of the parking space, and said, “We going playground!” A few minutes, then: “We here at playground!” They both got up, and immediately she ordered him back to the car. “All done playground! Time to go grocery store!”

Sometimes he plays what she wants. Other times, he offers the game. And, of course, sometimes he just doesn’t want to play with her. I’m amazed at the depth of her play, so early. I wonder if she’s just better at it than he was, or if she is proving the benefits of having a close-in-age sibling, which include a virtual master class in imagination.

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