Identity crisis

This morning I was Tom. Sometimes I’m called Nanny Plum…or MISTRESS PLUM if I’ve been particularly bossy. Dh is often referred to as Elvis but he prefers to be King Thistle.

Confused? No, it’s not some bizarre medium-term marriage role-play thing. Honest! They’re some of the many names that R and G bestow upon us during imaginative play.

The girls went through a phase before Christmas of being obsessed with Fireman Sam. Luckily it’s no longer available via our V+ subscription (or so we’ve told R and G) so we’re not subjected to the crappy computer animation of the newer series. During Fireman Sam-based imaginative play R has to be the main man and G is always Penny. Dh is Elvis (the dopey fireman) for some reason. I have to be Tom the all-Aussie helicopter rescue dude. I take it as an opportunity to practice my crappy Australian accent. ‘MAAAATE! Put another prawn on the barbie. BONZA!*’.

We’re a bit like The Incredibles because, until now, our identities have been a closely guarded family secret – as far as the girls are concerned anyway. We were Tom, Penny and Sam this morning until we reached the nursery car park at which point R made us switch back to our normal identities again.

It’s all terribly confusing. R gets very cross if we slip out of character at home and call each other the non-secret names. G’s generally too busy in G-World to notice.

I love the imaginative play that the girls do. The beauty of them having a permanent same-age playmate is that they will go off and create princess land or perform a rescue together. The input from Dh and I is minimal now – by choice from the girls. Sometimes I’m told in no uncertain terms to leave them alone (the first time they went to play in their bedroom alone with the door shut I sat downstairs feeling like a spare part) because, as G puts it, they’re ‘busy’. On occasion we are called upon to assume our secret identities and I relish the chance to act silly and put on an accent (actually, that’s a fairly standard Tuesday for me) but R and G put me firmly in my place when I overstep the mark and become embarrassing…which just makes me worse.

Now I need to get them to role-play bringing me breakfast in bed and I’m all set…

*Basically I’m channelling a bizarre combination of Mark Webber and Alf Stewart from Home and Away.


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