[Originally published March 25, 2013.]

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INT. PRE-SCHOOLDAY

DYLAN (3 and three-quarters) and BRITTANY (3 and eleven-twelfths) are playing dress-up in the dramatic play corner.

BRITTANY

So you’re gonna be the space man again?

DYLAN

What’s wrong with the spaceman?

BRITTANY

It’s just… you’ve been the spaceman since we were in Terrific Twos. Maybe it’s time to try the cowboy, or the train conductor, or… wow, I’d love to see you in this pirate suit some time.

DYLAN

No! I want Spaceman! You can’t make me!

BRITTANY

Jesus, would it kill you to use your indoor voice? The last thing either of us needs right now is a time out from Miss Judy.

BRITTANY rummages through the dress-up trunk and puts on a sequined Princess Ariel dress.

BRITTANY (CONT’D)

All I’m trying to say is that we’re both pushing four. I’m just worried that this whole thing could start feeling too routine.

DYLAN

But it’s appropriate for people our age to crave routine. We need it to develop a sense of order and stability in an otherwise unpredictable world.

BRITTANY

Are you seriously going all T. Berry Brazelton on me while I’m standing in front of you wearing pink plastic heels and a rhinestone tiara? Hello? Notice anything different here? Oh! Look! No more baby fat!

DYLAN

Your shaming language is potentially damaging my self-esteem right now.

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INT. PRESCHOOLDAY

DYLAN and BRITTANY are lying next to each other during rest period.

DYLAN
(whispering)

Remember how you used to stare at me during nap time? How come you never stare at me that way anymore?

BRITTANY
(whispering)

It’s not you, it’s me. I’m at a place in my life where I need the nap again. I’ve got after-school capoeira, Mandarin, cello, and tae kwon do today. It’s not all “choice time, choice time, choice time” like when we were young.

DYLAN

You know what we need? We need to do something just for kicks, like we used to before our parents decided we had to get into the gifted and talented kindergarten next year.

BRITTANY

Let’s see a band!

DYLAN

Yo Gabba Gabba?

BRITTANY

Too “pre-verbal, look how kooky we are but we’re actually edu-taining you without you even realizing it.”

DYLAN

The Wiggles?

BRITTANY

Too “grandpa boy band-y.”

DYLAN

Dan Zanes?

BRITTANY

Rock ‘n roll!

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INT. CROWDED ARENAAFTERNOON

DYLAN, BRITTANY, and their parents are in nosebleed seats watching Dan Zanes on a Jumbotron.

DYLAN

This is bullshit. I can’t believe he’s doing stadium shows.

BRITTANY

Can you not mirror our parents’ language patterns right now? We’re here to have fun, remember?

DYLAN

The only ones having fun are all the parents here, or should I say the “square-ents.” This is the closest these people have gotten to a rock concert since they followed Phish in grad school.

BRITTANY

Oh, so now you’re saying we’re turning into our parents?

DYLAN

Don’t blame me. Which one of us insists on playing “you be the mommy, I’ll be the daddy?” every 10 minutes?

BRITTANY

Okay, I don’t want to fight anymore. Come on, let’s dance.

DYLAN

Dancing is for girls.

BRITTANY

Dylan, why are you doing this now?

DYLAN

Because I am at the stage of my emotional development in which I individuate via gender-based self-segregation.

BRITTANY

Well, I’m at the stage where I wanna shake my bootie to “All Around the Kitchen, Coc-A-Doodle-Doodle-Do!”

Wildly, she removes her barrettes, shakes out her hair, and dances on her seat like a chicken. DYLAN inserts his index fingers into his ears and shuts his eyes.

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EXT. BACKYARDAFTERNOON

At her fourth birthday party, BRITTANY is hiding under a table with DYLAN, eating cake.

DYLAN

I really didn’t spill the apple juice on you on purpose. Guess my fine motor skills haven’t been so hot lately, huh?

BRITTANY

It’s fine, it happens sometimes. (Pause) You wanna go to my playroom and, ya know…give me my present?

DYLAN

Can you give me a five-minute head’s up? I’m still working on transitions.

BRITTANY

We’re gonna go to my playroom in five minutes, okay Dylan? In five minutes, you are going to give me my birthday present in there, got it?

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INT. PLAYROOMFIVE MINUTES LATER

DYLAN

Go ahead, open it.

BRITTANY

Where did you get it?

DYLAN

How am I supposed to know?

She opens her gift. A princess dress.

BRITTANY

Yay! Tiana!

DYLAN

My mommy says we have to start celebrating diversity.

BRITTANY

Want me to try it on for you?

DYLAN

Are we allowed?

BRITTANY

No, so I’m gonna do it. I’m four now! Time to start testing limits and pushing boundaries as a means of asserting my autonomy, right?

She exits, and re-enters as Princess Tiana.

BRITTANY

How do I look?

DYLAN

Let’s play doctor.

BRITTANY

Thanks. But don’t you think that’s kind of babyish at this point in our relationship?

DYLAN

Not the babyish kind, the grownup kind.

BRITTANY

Don’t take this the wrong way, but I’m not sure that’s developmentally appropriate.

DYLAN

It is, trust me. We’re supposed to be modeling grownup behavior and doing everything the same way they do it.

BRITTANY
(nervous)

Grownup doctor, huh? I don’t even know how to play grownup doctor.

DYLAN

Here, let me show you.

He takes a seat in a Pottery Barn For Kids rocker, instructing her to sit opposite him in a beanbag chair from the Land of Nod catalog.

DYLAN

So tell me, Brittany. Can you think back to a time when you first started having these fantasies of being a princess?