In the past 6 months or so we have had a revolving door of "guests" in our home - all are invisible, some are based on "real" people/things while others seem to be completely fabricated. Some of these friends seem to live here, some only come when Lily's not home, others come and go as they please and still others only come when summoned (yes it's as creepy as that sounds). Since I've failed to introduce our friends as we've gone along I'll give a summary of all of them. I'm sure I'll forget some, but these are the most memorable and the ones that visit most often.
The bugs were the first imaginary creatures that Lily ever mentioned to me. You can see right away that - like her mom - she tends to be quite literal in her imaginings. The bugs usually appeared in her room around nap or bedtime and made it difficult for her to get to sleep. When she was going through her "sleeping on the floor" kick she would complain to me that the bugs under her dresser were bothering her. She also told me that they were blue. One time I offered to talk to them for her and she looked at me very seriously and said "Mommy, the bugs don't have MOUTHS!" There was an implicit "dummy" at the end of the sentence.
The Painting Lady
On the third floor of our building there is a painting in the hallway. It looks like this:
Our neighbors upstairs (not the painting's owners) have a little girl who went to family day care with Lily and is a friend of hers. However, Lily doesn't like to go up there a whole lot - she's not a fan of this painting. Whenever we talk about going upstairs the "painting lady" comes up right away and she talks about how she's afraid of it, etc. I feel like we've been hearing about this painting from her as long as she could talk.
Shortly before Christmas I was playing with Lily in her playroom. She had hung a blue jingle bell on the porch door in there. We were making a puzzle and she suddenly stood up, walked over to the door and "rang" the jingle bell. Then she came back to the puzzle. I asked her why she had done that and she replied
"I was calling the Painting Lady. She's coming to help with the puzzle now"
OK! Um - CREEEEPY! She kept talking about how the Painting Lady would be here "any minute now". I kept expecting our front door to open and some freakish artistic rendition to come lumbering through it.
Since then we hear that the Painting Lady is around from time to time. Thankfully she hasn't done the scary "summon with jingle bell" routine too often. I've read too much Stephen King in my life. I wonder if I should contact him with my new book idea. Just yesterday Lily informed me that she was Batman and I was the Painting Lady and that she was shooing me away (or pushing or shooting? I couldn't quite understand - so I'm going with shooing).
Offen, Gendreau and Miss Gall
OK so we're not 100% sure on the names of these guys and they're not around too often. But one day she was all excited because her friends Offen and Gendreau were here. They live in her feet apparently - or her toes - I can't remember. Miss Gall showed up one day randomly as well. I thought she was saying "Miguel", but Gordon thought it was "Miss Gall" and then she latched on to his interpretation. Usually these guys hang out and play with her. Sometimes we hear about how they are home sick or need to go see a doctor. They don't usually cause too much trouble and aren't anywhere near as creepy as our friend, PL.
The Monsters are sort of the 3-year-old incarnation of The Bugs. They show up at bedtime now a lot and I often have to chase them away or give them a good talking to. It seems that they live in the forest. One night she asked me to rock her and sing her a lullaby because then the monsters would "go back to the forest". It was a really sweet excuse for me to hold her like I did when she was a baby. It's definitely a treat to feel like you're capable of something as awesome as banishing monsters with just the power of your (off-key) voice.
Sometimes she likes to invoke the creepy with The Monsters too. Gordon and I will be talking to each other and in an effort to refocus attention on her she'll suddenly burst out with "SHHHH!" and then in a low voice "Something's Coming.... it's a monster!" You have to witness it to fully appreciate how creepy she can be. If M. Night makes another movie I'm totally getting her in for an audition.
Getting back to the more literal characters... Lily is a big Maisy fan. She's always liked the Maisy books at the library and I've heard that she is particularly into them at school. I guess Maisy is generally a big hit in her classroom. So now Maisy shows up at home a lot. Well actually Lily becomes Maisy - usually when she's in trouble for something, A typical conversation might go like this:
Me: Lily! Did you just knock Quinn over?
Lily: I'm Maisy! I'm Maisy!
That Maisy is kind of a trouble-maker. Sometimes we need to send her home. You never really know when she's going to show up and it can be annoying. Because sometimes - I just really want to talk to Lily! Lately Maisy's been full of stories about her friends Charlie and Talulah as well. One of them is usually varying degrees of sick at any given time. It's unclear if the sick fascination is a result of the "Maisy goes to the hospital" book that they have at school or her way of processing all those hospital visits to see Papa.
Mr. Fox and Family
One night Gordon was putting Lily to bed and he tried playing shadow puppets with her (I'm sure I'm going to get this wrong since I wasn't there - so G feel free to correct). He made his hand in the shape of a fox (actually he made the universal symbol for anubis, but I won't split hairs). Instead of checking out the shadow his hand made, Lily got excited by his actual hand. She named it "Mr. Fox". And apparently she was SUPER nice to Mr. Fox - like way nicer than she ever is to Gordon (or me). Mr. Fox got a ton of please and thank yous, he got hugs, he got apologies when she accidentally crushed his ears, and on and on. Soon she was asking every night if "Mr. Fox" would visit.
Over the next few weeks "Mrs. Fox" appeared on the scene (yeah, I couldn't resist - she was just so damn NICE to this fox fellow - I had to get in on the action). Then one day Lily surprised us with an introduction to "Baby Fox" - he lives on her hand. Baby Fox now visits us a lot. He gives kisses to Mr. and Mrs. Fox and just generally keeps Lily company. Sometimes she gets both hands going and "Brother Fox" comes over as well.
Last week Lily's pre-school class took a field trip to a local cafe as part of their "restaurant module". The next day the teachers sent us some pics from the outing and this one was in the bunch:
Apparently Baby Fox has been going to school too. I found out today that she had all the kids making baby foxes that day.
I'm cool with Baby Fox and friends - as long as he doesn't start yelling "Redrum! Redrum!" anytime soon.
The Royal Court
Man whoever runs Disney's marketing department is good - damn good. Lily hasn't had a ton of Disney exposure, but for Halloween a few people gave out these little card games. She got a couple of sets of "Old Maid" games in which all the cards are Disney Princesses and the Old Maid is Ursula (Little Mermaid). Combine those cards with a few nights spent in her cousin Valora's room and she has decided to rename our entire family:
Lily aka "Cinderella Cindy Baby"
Gordon aka Daddy aka "Jasmine"
Becky aka Mommy aka "Ariel"
and, my favorite
Quinn aka "Ursula"
She gets into this game and she stays in it. It's amusing as it leads to some pretty funny quotes:
"Ariel, when you're done doing dishes could you please come help me wipe?"
"We can't go to art class, Ursula is still sleeping!"
and the best one - at 2AM over the baby monitor:
(how psyched was I that she was NOT calling Ariel? and also - snickering just a bit)