Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Princess & Birdie's Fantasy Life

Can you hear the Twilight Zone theme music emanating from this image?

There is a world that exists solely in the minds of my daughters.  No one else is invited to visit.  No one else, I believe, could truly understand this place.  It is the place where most all of Princess and Birdie's playtime is spent, and it is hard to get them to leave.  The world is called Story Show Land, and my girls are its supreme rulers.

Story Show Land has exactly one purpose:  it is the place where the game Story Show is played, of course.  Early every Saturday morning, before I have even finished my first cup of coffee, I hear the sounds of my daughters, holed away in one of their upstairs bedrooms, playing this game.  They spend many an afternoon after homework is finished, including today, doing the same thing-- playing Story Show.

So what is Story Show, you ask?

Well, that is a very good question.  And it's kind of hard to answer.  The girls have been playing Story Show since they were able to string together semi-coherent sentences (around 2 1/2 yo), and I am still not completely sure about all the details of Story Show.  All I know for sure is that my girls have incredibly vivid imaginations!  (I know that is surprising to some people, since autism is often associated with a lack of imagination.  Evidence exists, however, that many young girls present ASD differently from boys.  Click here to see the differences.)

When I asked the girls how they would describe Story Show, Princess promptly told me she wouldn't describe it, "because it doesn't belong to anyone else, so they don't. need. to know".  Great.  So I asked Birdie, and she described it as an "out of the average boredom buster".  Still not much help.  My best effort, in terms grown-ups might understand:  Story Show is like the Matrix meets Dungeons & Dragons.

The best I can figure is that Story Show Land (SSL) is kind of like being in the Matrix.  The world looks like whatever you need it to look like for the story being told.  Princess can describe for you in great detail the maps of many of the Story Show Land "locations" where some of their stories take place.  Many of the arguments that arise during Story Show are over the lay of the land in SSL.

Adding characters to Story Show (SS) is very much like adding people to the Matrix-- they get "uploaded".  The girls will meet a new character that they like in a book or tv show.  They then ask the other sister if it's okay to "log on" that character to SS.  Once permission is granted, the new character is "uploaded" via a series of usual sounds that are similar to a modem link-up, followed by the phrase " (insert character name here) has been added to Story Show".  They sound very robotic when they say this.  The character is then available to be "acted out" (much like in D&D) by whomever chooses to play it, but the uploader has first dibs.  Freaky, right?

Once characters have been selected and SS commences, Birdie and Princess obviously have a lot of fun.  For whatever reason, jumping on Princess's bed seems to be an integral part of the game, as does shrieking and giggling and shouts of "curse you!"  There also seems to be a lot of magic in Story Show Land, and tons of adventure.  Getting dressed up for SS is always an option, but not a requirement.  Oh, and we musn't forget the stupid people and villains!  They make the entire game exciting, what with all their "poor choices" and "evil deeds" and such.

Your next question, undoubtedly, is about the rules of Story Show.  Everyone that knows my little beauties knows that there must be rules to this game.  And they would be absolutely correct.  I have only figured out a few of the rules, but this is what I know for sure-- they are, to put it mildly, unusual.

Rules of Story Show (that I know of-- there has to be more):

1.  Absolutely no socks in Story Show.  Socks would make SS dangerous "because you might slip when you jump on the bed or leap out of danger's way" in Story Show Land.  It is strictly a safety issue.  Birdie (aka Miss Safety Pants) made this rule mandatory after breaking her arm during SS due to jumping on the bed-- you guessed it-- while wearing socks.  It just had to be the socks' fault!

2.  You may not wear a skirt during SS if you are playing any male characters.  This is Princess's rule.  According to her, it would "just be wrong to play a boy if you are wearing a skirt!  BOYS DON'T WEAR SKIRTS!!!!"  Yes, she yelled this.  And yes, I know I just mentioned earlier what a great imagination she has, but to her you can't imagine you are wearing different clothes from what you actually have on.  Your clothes are real.  Duh.

3.  You must "pause" SS to potty, snack, or talk to grown-ups.

I crack up every time I hear one of the girls say "hit the pause button.  I have to pee!"  I laugh even harder when the waiting girl then makes an honking sound-- much like you would make to keep your dog from peeing on the table leg-- to pause the game.  The game cannot resume until the taking-a-break girl gets back and says "mmmm-- do it!", which is apparently the "unpause" cue.

4.  Absolutely no grown-ups allowed in SS-- ever.  We are just not smart enough to keep up, y'all.

5.  You can earn "Story Show Credits" to spend at the "Story Show Store"-- according to Birdie.  I've noticed the store is rarely ever open.  These credits seem to be a way to bribe you sister (mainly Birdie bribing Princess) into changing her mind about the events taking place in SS.  ex.  I'll give you 20,000 SS credits if you let my character escape the dragon instead of getting eaten.  The store only opens up when Princess is threatening to quit SS and Birdie isn't ready to be done yet.  ex.  Wait, sissy!  I'll let you spend your SS Credits on a new castle!

6.  Your SS characters must fit your SS profile, whatever that means.  It seems to be another manipulation tactic.  ex.  Birdie:  You can't play a warrior character, sissy.  Your profile is more a princess or damsel in distress type.  Translation:  Birdie wants to be the warrior character.
Pinky & the Brain (borrowed image)

Like I said, I am sure there are more rules somewhere-- I just don't understand them.  The rules of Story Show are as elusive as the rules of Fight Club, it seems.

Regardless of the rules, Hubby and I find plenty of chuckles and endless pleasure in eavesdropping on Story Show.  We LOVE Story Show.  It's our favorite sitcom.  For years, we have listened in on their fantasy world with a mixture of amazement, bafflement, and outright WTH?!   Some of my favorite overheard snippets, which are decidedly Pinky and the Brain-ish, follows:  (Trust me when I tell you that no amount of "context" will make these make sense.)

... I didn't know that a Martian's subcutaneous level of skin was such a lovely shade of orange!
... why didn't you tell me I was looking at that thing's ear?!  I thought it was it's armpit!
... I know that zebra laid it's egg around here somewhere.  We have to find it, and fast!
... I don't know what planet you're from, but around here, we flush after we go.
... who knew a bath could go so wrong?!
... my car runs on go-gurt.  To which the other responded: I truly doubt that.

What is your child's fantasy life like?

1 comment:

  1. This is truly FASCINATING! Wow, I love how brilliantly they can entertain themselves! My child's fantasy life consists of fictitious and very animated cell phone calls to random people, playing doctor, and playing school. Nothing quite so...lavish. Love it!