A few days ago M & Z were playing happily in the living room while I was making dinner. Suddenly the screaming started and Morgan ran into the kitchen holding a wooden spoon.
"Zachary - " she hissed, full of outrage and waving the spoon in my face. I figured he must have hit her with it.
"That BOY!!!," she continued. "He thinks this is a telephone! It is not a phone and when I told him it is a spoon NOT a phone he still thought it was a phone and called grandma on it!"
"Morgan", I told her not for the first time, "you cannot argue with Zachary's imagination. If he wants to pretend the spoon is a phone then it is a phone for him."
"Well, then he is wrong!" and she stomped off.
Its not that Morgan has no imagination. She has a great imagination. But she is completely intolerant of Zachary's imagination because it is so different from her own. Zach will play happily by himself using whatever he can find to serve as what he needs for his game. A bag can serve as a garage for his cars or a spoon can be a phone. Morgan's imaginary play, on the other hand, requires her to create. If she needed a phone she would construct it out of Legos. Many of her games result in elaborate pillow-and-blanket forts. The shows she puts on are not just singing and dancing, but have costumes and props and, unfortunately, lots of frustration over not being able to make the exact right costume or prop.
And this seems to be the source of much of their conflict. Morgan doesn't get Zachary's games. Because the details are inside his head, to Morgan they are too simplistic or just plain wrong. And Zachary doesn't have the patience for the extensive preparation that Morgan's games require. Maybe that will change as he gets older. Hopefully so, because Morgan does have some great ideas. But for now, the fighting continues.
And thank goodness for board games because that seems to be a place of common ground!