“Want to go outside, Daddy? Want to go outside to PLAAAAAYYY?”

We’ve lived in our home a year and a half now, but it’s only been in the last month or so that Annie has realized how much fun can be had playing in the backyard. This is adorable, but also time consuming for me because I’m her favorite outdoor playmate. I think I know why she likes playing with me so much – I’m willing to follow her imagination wherever it takes us, and sometimes it takes us to some pretty weird places!

A perfect example of Annie’s unique playing style came last weekend when she asked me to go hit baseballs off her tee. This is normal enough – even if she did insist on doing it while “practicing” to be her favorite players, Buster Posey and Matt Kemp (“practicing” is Annie-speak for “pretending”).

the bride wore cleats
Did I mention she often plays baseball in her little wedding dress?

After a few minutes, though, Annie dropped the bat and ran over to our lounge chairs and jumped onto one.

“Don’t you want to hit anymore?” I asked.

“No, Daddy! Now I’m practicing to be Michaela in the stands with her cousin!”

“You mean you?”

“Yes! I’m Michaela and I’m watching the baseball game with Annie!”

“Uh… okay.”

Annie at a spring training game where she “sat in the stands with her cousin.”

Annie then told me to practice being Buster Posey and “hit the ball far, far away.” I indulged her (or maybe I just liked pretending to be Buster Posey), and as I hit balls off the tee Annie chanted “Let’s Go, Giants!” and mimed eating cotton candy. It was very cute (and a little weird).

She wasn’t done, though. She then decided that we should “practice” getting ready to go to Dodger Stadium.

“You practice to be Mama and get me dressed for the game, Daddy!”

I looked around, then, after confirming we were indeed alone in our backyard, agreed to “practice” to be Heather. Annie directed me to dress her in an imaginary dress, comb her hair with an imaginary brush, and then drive her and Daddy (you following this?) to the stadium in our lounge chair/car.

“We’re here!” Annie shouted after I did about half a minute of fake driving, then climbed down off the lounge chair.

“All done playing?” I asked.

“No! Now you practice being Daddy and buy me lemonade! Come on!”

Annie always has a lemonade at baseball games.

Annie grabbed my hand and pulled me off the lounge chair.

“I’m not Mommy anymore?”

“No! Now you practice to be Daddy!”

“Practice. Right.”

From there Annie lead me inside and over to the refrigerator where I “bought” her a lemonade. I put the straw in box, handed Annie the lemonade, then plopped onto the couch thinking she was done playing outside.

But no.

“Daddy! We have to go back to our seats! Come on! Mama’s waiting!”

So back to the lounge chair we went, where Annie drank her lemonade while we watched an imaginary baseball game next to an imaginary Heather. For the record, the imaginary Giants destroyed the imaginary Dodgers 14-0. It was a heckuva a game.

It’s been a kick watching Annie’s imagination run wild. I just hope none of the neighbors can see into our backyard.