1.30.2008

Motherhood Ain't No Place for Control Freaks

Right on cue, Bee has become a fully-immersed citizen of Make-Believe Land. Imaginative play, role playing and an almost non-stop narrative of the most charming variety now take up the hours where colouring, shape-sorting and driving Mummy crazy once ruled. (I kid, of course. She still spends plenty of time driving Mummy crazy.)

I can’t tell you the kick I am getting out of all of this. I have been moved to tears by the sweetness she exhibits while pretending that she is the midwife and must give her baby an examination using all the implements of her medical kit, mimicking the many appointments she accompanied me on: Let’s measure you baby; how is your tummy feeling? Don’t cry baby, this won’t hurt. Poke, poke, poke.

And I have been moved to tears of laughter watching her act out her favourite Dora episode while she watches herself in the mirror: Climb, little monkey, climb! Sube! Sube!

Her dance moves seriously slay me; she will run/hop/skip/jump/kick from one side of the room to the other while prompting: Watch me ballerina! I’m a good dancer!

And often I will find her sitting in her emptied toy bin, conversing with my bff, her ‘auntie’, on her toy phone: Hi Auntie! You bring Princess [ed's note - chihuahua] to see me? Well, Daddy’s at work right now. I’m so proud of Daddy! You take me bowling? Well, Mummy’s making dinner and Dove is pooping AGAIN! She’s a poop machine!

So, good parents that we are, we decided to help foster this very important, very entertaining part of Bee’s life by buying her a dollhouse. We have watched her, thoroughly engaged, play with dollhouses at friends’ homes and at various stores, so we felt it was worth the investment. (Especially since these good parents never bought her a single Christmas/Hanukkah present.)

Also, I see many boring winter afternoons trapped spent inside, and I needed something to take the pressure off. My (mostly one-handed) creativity can only be stretched over so many winter afternoons spent indoors.

So off we go this morning to a nearby mega-bookstore for a little train-table play, a little coffee for mama, and a little dollhouse buying. We eventually make it home, and after nursing Dove, getting Bee a snack and calling Chris but before going pee myself, I put together Bee’s adorable new dollhouse.

And OHMYGOODGOD I LOVE THIS THING!

Seriously, this dollhouse is da bomb shiznit. It’s got three floors, cute, practical furniture, and shrubs! And an adorably raggedy, if not homogenous, family of five, including a baby that looks like an old wooden clothes pin. You know, the kind with the round head. Too cute.

Bee goes straight to work, putting little wooden bowls on the little wooden table, and little wooden canisters in the little wooden bowls.

I try to convince her that the canisters look better on a top shelf where the mice and the baby can’t get at them, but no dice. Back into the bowls they go.

And then she makes up the little twin beds for Brother and Sister, blue and red bedding respectively, and uses the cute little area rug as a quilt.

I try to convince her that it looks way better at the foot of the bed than on the bed, but nope. Poor Sister is going to be shvitzing tonight.

And then Bee takes all the furniture and puts it on the top floor, and puts her bowl of apple slices in the living room.

And then she puts the baby in her cup of water, y’know, to give it a bath, and then dries her off and puts her to sleep in the toy box.

And then she puts the bowls in the dresser drawers and puts her apple slices on the kitchen chairs.

And then she puts her panda finger puppet in the cradle and stands on Brother’s skateboard.

And then Bee goes to find her Spiderman stickers and I rearrange everything in the dollhouse so that everything is where it is intended to go.

And then Dove needs to nurse again, or maybe she poops again, and anyway, Bee comes back and messes up my floorplan.

So this time I decide to back off, and just watch. Brother and Sister have a discussion about Rice Krispies; baby goes back in the ‘bath’ a second, third, fourth time; Mum and Dad don’t seem to do much at all, and Bee’s design sense is coming into its own. I would never have thought of putting a stove in the bedroom, or a bookshelf in the garden, but you know, it could work. And Bee thinks that the lamp is a vacuum cleaner, and gets to it.

And I don’t try to correct, coerce, convince or gently nudge her to do a thing differently. Because this is her space, and her time, and her childhood, and her imagination. And it cracks me up and makes me love Bee in even more ways than I already do – and who would have thought that was possible?

Plus, I’ll have at it once she goes to sleep.


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20 comments:

  1. i so love this too. the pretending....and oh yes, the sube! sube!

    you should have a late night dollhouse party.

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  2. Yeah, we go for drives in our new schoolhouse and eat the 'cookie' alphabet letters. Control is lost, but it is so fun.

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  3. I feel your pain - after lights out potato head is mine, all mine and that little tater covered completely in lips is "normalized".

    Hey if there is a late night dollhouse party, can I come?

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  4. My Baby loves her dollhouse, too, although she shows a distressing love of making the toy dog use the toilet. For AGES. I LOVE this age.
    All of my babies looked a lot like round-headed clothespins - albeit with a LOT of hair.

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  5. I am barely restraining myself from dashing over to Indigo and buying that house.
    I am a total control freak which is one of the main reasons, hell the only reason, I cannot handle motherhood.
    I have to go look up shvitzing now.

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  6. seems like you are really abhorring this whole parenting gig.

    You should really give it a chance.

    J.

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  7. I want that dollhouse. I NEED that dollhouse.

    Fortunately I am progressive-mommy and even though I don't have a daughter yet I will buy the dollhouse anyway. For my boy. He'll love it.

    And I'll keep it in the living room so after he's asleep I can "fix" everything he's done wrong.

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  8. blah, blah, blogJanuary 31, 2008

    I sooo know.

    For her second Christmas, I put the Calico Critters townhouse on the Begat's wish list (it has lights that actually work) and the in-laws obliged.

    http://www.creativekidstuff.com/calico-critter-townhome.html

    It is by far her favourite toy and she continues to receive furniture and assessories (many of which are so tiny in detail that they must be put away until she is older--a toy that will grow with her).

    However, my cover was blown on the day she first opened it: While my daughter was content to spend her time walking the little girl kitty up and down the staircase, I had the whole house to myself to set up. (The kitchen has tiny bottles and cookies, fruit. The child's room has a tiny pencil case complete with pencil and eraser).

    I've yet to live it down.

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  9. So sweet! I'm with Hannah... boys can play with dollhouses, right? :)

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  10. Scooter currently has a cardboard dollhouse and pipe-cleaner people to inhabit it (also a family of 5 with brother, sister, baby--he demanded that). Trillian and I had been planning to buy him one, probably from Plan Toys since they have non-pink ones, but one day he demanded one. We had boxes galore from the move, so his 3-story, open floor-plan house is sitting in the living room. Although it is a bit distressing that the roof keeps collapsing and squashing the kids.

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  11. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) I've spent more time playing with my kid's doll house than she has.

    So sad, this life of mine.

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  12. Oh gawd, I'm the same way ... with the megablocks.

    I 'help' Ramekin build elaborate 'houses' out of the megablocks (at his request), then silently go nuts when he moves walls, makes additions I didn't approve, thick doors... aaaaahhhhh!

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  13. Pie got a little doll house for Christmas, but once we got it out of the packaging we realized that all the furniture is affixed in place - the only movable parts are the actual family members and a car. I'm totally getting that big-box-bookstore dollhouse for the Pie's birthday.

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  14. I loved that age. All the pretend play.

    Nowadays, my kids are too big for doll houses.

    But, oh the fun we have making forts with couch cushions, blankets and tables...

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  15. don't you just love those toys that you can play with too?!?!

    Running on empty

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  16. Dollhouses are the BOMB. My kids are playing with one right now. It's a very, very budget dollhouse, but it's a dollhouse none the less. And? They aren't fighting. BOOYA.

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  17. I LOVE playing with my daughter's dollhouse. Setting up the furniture and the rooms is the best part! I never do it HER way though... she wants the couch in the kitchen and the bed in the bathroom... lol

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  18. I love, love, love the imaginative play. Most of the toys I get for Pumpkinpie are things that feed into it - dressup stuff, fake food and dishes, little rubber animals, things she can use to act stuff out. i've been totally thinking dollhouse, too. That one IS cute! I might go Playmobil, because it then works with all the other Playmobil stuff, and because a friend won a mass amount of Playmobil and offered to buy me some, but this could be the backup plan. So sweet!

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  19. I love the pretend. It doesn't really stop. Thats the joy.

    um. whats a sube?

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  20. You are cute with your new doll house!

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