Helena develops highly elaborate scenarios in her play. This has been true forever. For example, she keeps a notebook of all her Playmobil characters — their names, traits, family relationships, back stories. She develops multifamily camping trips, schoolyard gossip, sibling rivalry, flu epidemics, crime scenes.
It's no wonder then that (for several years already) she enjoys playing The Sims. She spends more time building her characters and their homes, though, than she does "playing" the game, i.e., letting her characters "live." (Arguably the set-up is as much playing as is running the simulation.) Certainly I played in a similar way, and most intensely, those months I was pregnant with her. Practice for parenthood, I rationalized. Trying to create some semblance of control.
So this weekend, she showed me her new Sims family: a single dad who's a doctor, a supergenius, and he's rich, with two kids, also supercreative geniuses, and well-behaved and neatly dressed too. So the dad has met a woman (also a mom) whom he's going to marry, only she's not a genius; "she's just normal, like you."
I am torn apart, flung down, crushed. Just weeks ago I would hear, "Mommy knows everything." Suddenly, I'm normal.
We have achieved normality. And I'm not sure I like it.