Today Ollie and I spent the day together running errands, playing with his toys, and having deep conversations. The first one went like this, “Mom I wear underswears today.” That ended after 4 pairs of unders and one load of laundry. We agreed to allow Lightning McQueen catch his potty and go on with our day (overly commercialized pull ups that cost fifty cents a piece). The next one went like this, “I smells something.”
“Oh? What is it?”
“It’s my breath.”
Awesome. There were lots of similar conversations that came after that brought a little smile or a dose of frustration. I feel like I’m constantly editing the real world to fit into his little world of understanding. Drawing connections for him, simplifying or sometimes just omitting. It wasn’t until our last conversation of the night that I was struck by how much he truly does understand.
As usual we were recapping our day just before he went to sleep. This is a meaningful ritual for the two of us. I feel like it’s a verbal journal that teaches both of us to reflect on our best and what we’d like to change. Today, Ollie and I went to the library. While riding in the elevator I read the text on a flyer to him. It took us both a bit to understand the event. It’s a sleepover at the library…for stuffed animals. So, basically you bring your favorite stuffed animal on Friday afternoon, have a snack and a drink with it, then give it a kiss and leave it there. The flyer details all of the activities your “loved one” will be enjoying including story time, a movie, popcorn and tuck in service. The next day you come back to the library, pick up your stuffed animal and receive photographs of the inanimate object partying hard at the sleepover. Yes. I could not make this up. I thought long and hard during our visit about who would really benefit from the stuffed animal sleep over. Nonetheless I was intrigued and brought it up to Ollie a few times later in the day. I asked him if he thought Llama Llama and Otter would like to go to the sleep over. He said yes. I asked him if he would miss them if we left them at the library overnight…he said no. Then at bedtime I went in for the win. I picked up Llama Llama, looked him in the eyes and asked him, “Llama Llama would you like to go to the sleep over at the library with all the other stuffed animals?” Ollie looked at me for a long moment and then said, “Momma, he not make a sound. He pretend.”
Yes, he is pretend. That won’t stop us from feeding him pretend meals from our pretend kitchen. It won’t stop us from discussing his feelings and wishing him a good day when we leave in the morning. Ollie isn’t confused or sad about this dichotomous relationship. He takes what serves him best and lets go of what does not. As an adult I’m an expert at making my own noise. My world is full of sound. Is the story I’m telling myself serving me? Isn’t it ultimately about faith, believing in what cannot be seen. Llama Llama doesn’t make a sound but he probably will go to the sleep over. He’ll probably have a great time because that’s how the author will write the story. Am I writing my own story, all the while believing in what cannot be seen and trusting in the goodness of it? I’ve been pretty confused and really sad about some bumps we’ve hit in the road, but I did see the sign. I want to pretend I didn’t because I don’t want to drive my car in that direction. He did not make a sound…but I still heard.