You’ve likely heard the phrase: art imitates life. How about: toddler and preschooler imitate life?
No? Surely those of you living and/or familiar with small children, can recognize their capacity to be inspired by both the mundane and significant details of the lives of those individuals within their intimate inner circle. And, their subsequent aptitude for acting out, in all their make-believe glory, those details, rituals, and behaviors.
Over the past three days, my oldest daughter has “given birth” to three baby dolls, two stuffed dogs, and one plush, half baby, half mermaid. Here is a brief synopsis of the process:
She goes into her bedroom for privacy, proceeds to stuff the play-fetus-of-the-moment down the front of her shirt/sweater/footie pajamas, emerges to show us all the spectacle that is growing inside of her, and then makes a big show of all the excitement and expectation surrounding the upcoming birthing event. Then, she retreats back to the bedroom for what I imagine is the world’s most pain-free labor, and re-emerges with the play-child wrapped in a blanket or covered in a crib, only to unveil him or her to the whole room of waiting-with-bated-breath-family-members—me, Franny and Liam. We go through the rituals of greeting and holding the baby-dog-doll-merchild, only to do it all again many hours later.
The youngest has only birthed one baby doll so far; she prefers to push her babies around in the stroller with a tote bag slung over her shoulder, stopping occasionally to lift the baby from her seat and “nurse” the baby mid-stride.
To top off the latest string of imitation events, just last night, my husband caught the oldest child attempting to neti-pot—is that even a verb?—with a play tea-cup, in the bath (I’ve been using one to lessen my cold symptoms this week). I thought this last action could potentially end up as a near-drowning event, but she seemed to handle the forced water to the nose like a pro; there was very little sputtering and coughing.
I find it so amusing, satisfying, and flattering to see my beloved little people imitating one of their favorite grown-ups—me.