Forced Playing House

I am three in this memory. Shortly after my brother learns to sit by himself, I start engaging him in my favourite activity – playing house. I have a collection of small plates and cups, and I have been waiting to have a playmate who can enjoy my imaginary meal with me whenever I play house at home. At this point, my brother cannot yet talk, but that does not matter. What is important is that he can sit next to me and pretend to eat with me.

Every day, I spread my special collection of plates and cups in one corner of our tiny main room. I then invite my brother to sit next to me. My mother usually puts a pillow behind my brother so that he can sit with more ease.

I am so excited to have somebody with me that my hospitality level is off the chart. As soon as my brother settles in front of the pillow, I start describing the content of our imaginary feast and scoop up some food from the plate with a spoon.

I know my brother is too small to eat by himself, so I carry the imaginary food to his mouth. Even with little idea what this fuss is all about, my brother responds well to my imaginary feast. When I bring the spoon to his mouth, he opens his mouth, looking as if eating the food. He is a perfect guest and companion for his age.

The imaginary feast lasts for quite some time since I am so eager to offer my imaginary food. And surprisingly, my brother rarely complains. Even without understanding the meaning of the activity, he seems to be happy, too. My exclusive attention is welcomed, and he responds to my talking and laughing perhaps better than to my imaginary food itself.