My identical twins are getting better in their advanced age (almost seven now) at letting go when things don't seem fair. Up until this point, and lingering still, they have had huge problems with comparing what they have with what their twin has. They fight over turns, the television, who touches whose stuff, who said what in which other fight, how they're being represented by the other twin, really, anything they can fight about in terms of trying to have everything exactly equal is fair game.
They'll even fight about who gets to tell a story about what happened at school. Or how long each of them gets to talk to me before the other one gets to speak. I'd say 92 percent of their day consists of annoying each other and measuring their own worth based on the other.
Starting last year, though, they began to embark on these imaginary games, which to my writer's ear sound just like stories with a plotline, adventure and adversity woven into whatever they are currently experiencing in reality. Not only are they experts at spinning adventures for each other for hours and hours at a time with intricate precision, during these bouts, they actually get along.
They become expert problem solvers, not only working together as a team within the game, but compromising and working out the story in on-the-fly drawing board sessions without so much as a whine or a whimper.
It's as if they are practicing how to get along in real life. In their little world that they make, they are best friends, usually playing sisters, but with the enhancements of magic powers or the title of princess. They are unstoppable here, and they can keep it up all day.
How do I harness this positive energy and friendliness from pretend to actuality? Why are they able to get along when they put on a slightly false persona, but when it's them in real time, they'd rather scream and cry over who put a foot on the other's beanbag first than play? Are they thirsting for real-life interaction with each other to mirror the world they created? If so, why don't they just get along in both places? Did I do something to force them to play out their better selves in a mock-world in a way they feel they cannot when just their own selves?
Is this a positive thing or a negative thing?
As with everything that happens with my daughters, I have only questions, no answers. But I do know that I will take 3 hours of intense pretend where they love each other and work together than a fight every ten minutes over who got one more grape.