My girls love going to the spa/pool at the center of our condo complex. A trip there can be a bit difficult, since the 6-year-old wants to spend her time in the cold water, while the 4-year-old wants to stay in the warm water. I have to act as a sort of mediator, saying, “Well, now, it’s not that frigid over here” and “Sweating is good for you! If you’re too hot, just sit on the edge there for a while.”
What the girls do agree on, however, is that they’re mermaids. They love to play the Mermaid Game, which can range from the two of them being mermaids that I’m trying to catch—either to eat or to put into an aquarium or mer-jail—to the three of us being mer-folk in search of treasure.
I have a lot of fun seeing where their imaginations take us, but I do often end up mediating once again.
My firstborn once declared that our mer-journeys would take us to “the Depths of Dismay—the Depths of Spain.” That meant the pool. We jumped in there, then found ourselves pulled back to the spa by my secondborn.
The girls were actually very good about pushing for their respective path through the game. Nobody got angry or rude. Still, it was a bit like a war of imaginations. My firstborn likes to set up elaborate scenarios that will take us to, say, every filter in the spa and pool. My secondborn tends to solve such pretend dilemmas very easily.
“I found a map!”
“It says there are four treasures.”
“I found them all!”
“No, it says that those are not the real treasures. The real ones are in the deepest—”
“My octopus got them!”
I can usually get the girls to take turns leading the story, which typically turns into a cold vs. hot adventure, with me bearing the brunt of the constant temperature shifts. Still, the sunken chests packed with gold, pearls, and various gems and jewels make it worth it—as do my girls’ pruney fingers and satisfied smiles when we finally step onto dry land, towel off, magically grow legs, and head home.