For some time now, O's been pretty attached to the bear that she received in the Bag of Hope that was given to her at the hospital when she was diagnosed. (The bear, which differs in gender from the one shown in the link, has a Medical Alert bracelet and colorful patches where it gets "injections." Olivia calls it Shotsy. No joke.)
We've noticed that Shotsy seems to be a surrogate Olivia when it is convenient.
"Shotsy's in time out."
We have played along with this, because there really hasn't seemed any reason not to. We suggest that she get Shotsy a blanket, or perhaps have a talk with him about why we don't hit, and that has been the end of it.
This morning, after indulging another obsession, I played along with O's new imaginary friend and then watched incredulously as things took a turn for the worse.
Olivia saw a couple of scenes from A Christmas Story at my mom's house over the holidays, a few crucial scenes, including the one where the little boy loses a bet and gets his tongue stuck to a flagpole. She talked about it for days, until we got the idea that we could probably find that scene for her on YouTube. Mistake #1.
There has been no end to the talk about the flagpole and questions about the flagpole and requests to watch the flagpole, flagpole, flagpole, flagpole. And I'll admit that I have maybe let the flagpole watching go on a bit too long, perhaps on a day when I wanted to clean the kitchen or go to the bathroom by myself.
So, this morning, Olivia starts again with the questions about the little boy.
"What's the little boy's name?"
The only name from the movie I know is Ralph, so Ralph it is.
"Ralph. His name is Ralph."
"Ralph's coming to my house to play."
And so it begins.
"Where's Ralph going to sit? Can Ralph have some granola?"
At first I find this amusing and I am trying to get breakfast in her and if putting another bowl out on the table gets this show on the road, then I am game.
"Sure, Ralph can have some granola."
"NOOOOOO, don't take that bowl. Ralph didn't get to eat."
"Is Ralph here, Mommy?"
"When's Ralph coming?"
"Are you going to play with Ralph?"
On and on. And then on some more.
I'm immediately stumped. What are you supposed to do with the imaginary friend thing? Ignore it? Play along? Explain Ralph is in a movie and isn't real? Act like I don't speak English?
Trust me, over the course of the day, I got to try them all out. And of course, in that wacky, bent-logic way that two-year-olds have, Olivia had an answer to everything.
Ralph can't play because he's not real? But he's right there!
Ralph can't eat cereal because he's allergic? But he ate some of hers!
Ralph's in time-out? He'll be right back!
Finally, Marc came home, listened for about five minutes, told Olivia that Ralph had to go home for dinner, and that was that.
He hasn't been back since.