‘Does Tyrant have a sister?’ Tyrant’s preschool teacher (her third this year in the same school) asked me this morning. ‘Sorry?’ I asked, needing to confirm it was me she was speaking to and not another mum . ‘Tyrant, keeps talking about her sister in the UK…’ She said. Ahhh…
Answer, no Tyrant doesn’t have a sister in the UK, this is a part of her pretend play that she is into at the moment. I do also explain, that Tyrant had a younger sister who died at birth (stillborn is not a recognised term in the Sandpit). End of conversation, I have the gym and coffee awaiting me and Tyrant has already run off to the dinosaur tray (obsessed with pterodactyls at the moment ‘it flys and eats meat, mummy’)
Before I needed to have this conversation at school I had already clocked this new element in Tyrant’s pretend play. At first I thought she was talkng about Cacia, so questioned what her sisters name is. Her sister is a part of her story about being married (married to BoBo our dog) with a sister in the UK. Her sisters name changes, but a regular one that pops up is tamaniahuni. So far so normal for a toddler, right?
We never hid Cacia’s death from Tyrant, she knew there was a baby inside mummy’s tummy and she knew that baby had to go to heaven and couldn’t be with us. As far as possible I tried to keep Tyrants life as normal as possible, obviously all children, no matter their age, pick up on their parents emotions and feelings, but that is part of being in a family. Is this pretend play influenced by Tyrant’s experience of Cacia’s death?
Personally, I don’t think so, or at least not fully. Tyrant is at that age where make believe and pretend play is a major part of her daily activity, and at the moment this is focused on family. I think there are a variety of reasons that this sister in the UK has popped up in her imagination. Maybe Cacia plays a part, but so does the fact that I have a sister and brother in the UK and a sister in Dubai and that Tyrant recently had to tell a fact about her place of birth (UK) in school several weeks ago. Or it could be the stories we read. Or it could just be that I will never fully understand how the mind of my 3 year old Tyrant works, and it is about going with the flow and hoping for the best.
I am biased, but Tyrant, aside from her tyrannical tendencies, seems pretty well average for a toddler. She plays nicely with others (with a few hiccups), she can be kind and generous (sometimes she needs to be reminded), she is adventurous, curious and inquisitive (why? How? What? Where? Every minute from waking until sleeping), polite (needs reminding regularly) but overall seems well adjusted to me.
I could drive myself mad with questions of whether I handled Cacia’s stillbirth well, should I have hidden more or less. Truth is I don’t care, so what if Tyrant’s imagination is driven by the loss of her sister? She isn’t upset, she is enjoying herself, she is hurting no one, she is expressing herself and there should be no shame or censorship when she does. So, preschool teacher, send your regards to Tyrant’s sister, Tamaniahuni, she lives in the UK. I have already sent mine.