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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Imagination Station

Meet Baby Big Boy.

My grandparents gifted this beautiful teddy bear to SWEET B for Christmas this year and for whatever reason some time about a month ago the Squirt suddenly grew an attachment to it. I have no clue what gave him the idea, but one day out of the blue he picked the bear up and told me it needed a diaper. Um, okay. Ever eager to "play" with my kids when it's easy and non-taxing to me, I grabbed one of Sweet B's diapers and handed it to E. Whatever kid.

"Mommy he needs a shirt."

Oh my.

Once the bear was fully clothed (in Baby #3's wardrobe) the Squirt carried on this narrative all day. They went to the grocery store together, the bear ate lunch with us (according to E he's not a fan of applesauce) and the bear was a necessary participant at story time and bedtime. Along the way the bear became "the baby" which then one day became "Baby Big Boy."

So for the last couple of weeks I've been putting up with Baby Big Boy. The Squirt already has TWO comfort items that he sleeps with. A little dog named Monkey and a monkey named Big Monkey. Are you still with me? I feel like this may be confusing. Anyways, now his tiny little toddler bed is a menagerie and when he watches TV all three come along for the ride. Oh and Baby Big Boy has a mommy. A small white teddy bear kind of mommy. Sometimes she comes along too, but she's not a major player in the narrative yet.

ANYWAYS - the point is that I have been ignoring/indulging his make-believe, thinking this is probably some milestone phase for toddlers to go through and he'll get tired of BBB soon.

But after what just happened I'm wondering if maybe I need to put my foot down?

This afternoon I put the Squirt down for a nap at about 2 like always. BBB was tucked in next to him and had gotten a kiss and a night-night from me at E's request. I shut the door, came out to eat Pecan Sandies and read blogs and 45 minutes later heard an urgent cry of, "MOMMY!!" from E's room.

Now the Squirt is my go-to napper. The boy sleeps like a champ. We're talking 2 hours everyday at 2pm since he was 5 months old. I can count on one hand the number of times he's cried out from his afternoon nap in the past 885 days of his life. So while had the cry been Britain's I almost certainly would have ignored it, since it was E I got up instantly (as instantly as one great with child can get up) and hustled to his room to see what on earth was wrong.

"Baby Big Boy needs to poop Mom."

Utter and total confusion must have clearly registered on my face, because the Squirt urgently repeated himself.

"Baby Big Boy needs to go poop on the potty right now Mommy."

You've GOT to be kidding me.

But I indulged. Again. I was really in no mood to deal with a tantrum over BBB's bathroom habits, so I took the blessed bear out of E's room, hung out in the hall bathroom for a second (long enough to look at my un-made-up face, crazy slept-on-it-wet last night hair and belly button popping out from under an XL sized t-shirt and wonder whatever in the world happened to the cool sexy me) and then walked back in Squirt's room, telling Baby Big Boy just loud enough to be overheard how proud I was of him.

I tucked the bear back in, told E emphatically that it was nap time and not play time and left.

You veteran moms have surely dealt with this type of play. Should I let it just fade out on its own or "lose" Baby Big Boy sometime soon? Is that a bridge too far? Am I overindulging Squirt's imagination or helping him develop some super duper important part of his little mind? I'd really love it if I never had to pretend to take a teddy bear to the toilet again.


  1. I have no advice, but wanted to let you know that I was laughing out loud as I read your post! Oh little boys and their imaginations....thanks for letting me know what I'm in for whenever Lukas starts talking!

  2. That is pretty sweet/funny/annoyance/interesting. And, it really gets the BA Psych degree in me going.
    I wonder how much it's related to your ever growing mid-section or if it is just a phase or a personality trait/tendency or ???
    I would say let it go for now but if he's trying get attention and is personifying the bear a bit (maybe more than a bit?!) :) I would reassure him that BBB is going to suffer the same consequences and discipline that he would/does. So for example, when it's nap time EVERYONE naps. And, if BBB doesn't use the potty before nap time then he'll have to wait and if he's disrespectful then he'll need to have a timeout (or whatever discipline you two use), etc. If he doesn't nap (BBB, I mean) then he'll have to go to bed early.
    All that aside, many of us have soother/blankie friends who follow us everywhere for years and while this is a pretty intense friendship/relationship right now, you might just want to let it run it's course for awhile.
    This time next week they may have a fight and he'll hate the thing. Ha ha - you could only wish. :)
    Let us know!

  3. I've read that playing pretend and even having imaginary friends is excellent for toddlers. Using their imaginations and being creative is really good for them. Granted, there might need to be repercussions for disobedience (not napping due to a 'friend's' needs), but I definitely wouldn't discourage his imagination unless it really becomes a problem :)

  4. BBB might be a good way for E to deal with the new baby. My cousin had a cabbage patch doll that he "mothered" when his little sister was born. It gave him something to take care of and helped quash the inevitable jealousy. BBB might really come in handy for you. ;)


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