After a day full of screams and a whole lot of “UGH! She won’t stop touching me!” “Make her stop looking at me!” and “If she’s going outside then I’m staying in…well, then I’m coming in if she thinks she’s coming out!” the girls had gone to their room and the house suddenly got very quiet. I trudged upstairs to see if anyone was bound and gagged or locked in a closet. The bedroom door was closed, so I knocked quietly as I pushed it open and there were Julia and Lucy, sitting at a play table. Lucy was lightly tapping the keys on her toy laptop and Julia was reading a book.

Lucy paused for a second, shot an annoyed glance over her shoulder at me, then returned to her “work” while Julia’s eyes continued to dart across the page of an Ivy & Bean book. I stood and watched them a moment feeling a little confused. Weren’t these the same girls who, just fifteen minutes ago, had a near battle to the death over who got the broken green sandbox shovel? The ones who resorted to fisticuffs over who was copying who by swinging in unison on the playset? The silence continued and finally, I asked. “What are you guys doing?”

Julia looked up and calmly said, “We’re playing house,” and returned to her reading.

Afraid to disrupt the peace, I just whispered, “Alright,” and shut the door, but I was still bewildered. Who’s house was that supposed to be? And can I please go live there?