One of the greatest parts about having a toddler is having a front row seat to their imagination. Since I have twin three year olds, we have imagination up the wazoo. Since three year olds are seemingly incapable of compartmentalizing, that imagination saturates all aspects of their lives.
Quite recently, the twins decided they were spiders. That was not a wording error on my part. I did not mean to say “the twins decided to pretend they were spiders.” I meant that they decided they were spiders. It’s an important distinction. In fact, they keep reminding me of that. Whenever I refer to them by the wonderful and thoughtful names I provided them upon their birth, they abruptly correct me, “No! I’m baby spider!” Do they know they aren’t really spiders? It’s questionable.
They crawl around on all fours, trying to mimic some spastic spider moves. This is probably my favorite part of the whole spider routine, since they stick their little rumps up in their air and walk around on their hands and feet. It’s a fairly disorienting position and they look more like drunken raccoons. It’s a good, deep stretch that I haven’t been able to accomplish since college.
They go to sleep in their “webs.” I am not allowed to refer to their beds as anything other than “webs” without evoking great offense from the baby spiders. It’s worth mentioning that a major part of this role playing exercise is that they now refer to me as “mommy spider.” Yes, I am the official arachnid matriarch. I’ve held better job titles, but at least they know who’s the boss. Here’s where the whole issue with not compartmentalizing comes into play; They don’t just call me “mommy spider” when they are actively pretending to be spiders. They call me “mommy spider” all. The. Time. At bedtime, mealtimes, family times, out in public…I can only imagine what strangers might think. Perhaps they assume I’m some hardcore biker Mom, “Spider,” or that I moonlight as a super hero, “The Mommy Spider.” It’s almost as bad as when my daughter loudly informed me that “her bottom itches” in a checkout line at Target. Almost.
Despite going on two months of living with spiders that I’m expected to keep alive, (definitively not the normal relationship I have with most spiders I find in my home) it’s one of the better imagination games they have come up with. It’s infinitely better than when they decided to paint their bodies with yogurt. And it’s definitely better than when they kept telling me there were ghosts in the hallway. I don’t care who you are, that will make you trepidatious even if it is being suggested by a three year old with no formal education or life experience. What if there really is a ghost?!
I can’t lie, the spiders make me laugh quite a bit. They’ve even recruited their baby brother, and watching him attempt the drunken raccoon spider crawl is one of the highlights of my life. It has also made mealtime a bit easier, since the baby spiders are much more prone to eating something if they’re told its “spider food.” MmmmHmmmm. We’ll call that a Mom win…or, I should probably say, Mommy Spider win.