My daughter has quite an imagination. For the last two years, we have been living with my parents in Arizona and they, meaning my folks, have fostered that imaginative play. Princess Pat (her online pseudonym) has gone through phases of being a cat, a dog, a swan and a horse…always belonging to Grandpa. As we made plans to move, she announced one day at the dinner table that anyone who was going to miss his horse should raise his hand. Other days, she would have my mom sing a “magic” song to be turned into a swan. We never knew what she would come up with.
Princess Pat is also obsessed with families and family relationships. All of her stuffed animals are related. Pink Doggie is the child of Charlie the brown dog, Itchie is the brother of Grey Dog, etc. She can pick up chess pieces and create a family. For a while, she kept asking my husband and me who she was going to marry. She was three! We tried telling her that her marriage was so far off that we didn’t know, but time is a hard concept for little children. Finally, one day, my mom came up with a name for her future husband: Mortimer Tooter. We called her Mrs. Tooter for a while, until she decided that she didn’t like it any more. That may have had something to do with the fact that we call flatulence “toots” around her. I think she put two and two together and didn’t like the implications.
The next persona she adopted was that of a horse called Mrs. McGillicutty. That lasted quite a few months. One day, my mother-in-law, who suffers from dementia, was on the phone and I called Princess Pat over to talk. I was sitting close by to “help” with the conversation. My mother-in-law started the conversation, prompted by my sister-in-law, by saying, “Hello, __________, how are you today? ” My daughter stopped her right there and said, “Actually, my name isn’t _______, it’s Mrs. McGillicutty.” I had to rush out of the room to burst out laughing. I don’t mean to be insensitive to my mother-in-law’s condition, but the idea of saying that to someone who is so easily confused was too hilarious, especially because it was done with no malice.
You just never know what children will say.