Sophie recognizes that her Baby-Doll is young (“Newborn,” declared the label), and thus may not understand everything that is happening, so Sophie makes a special effort to keep Baby-Doll informed by narrating whatever is going on. Now we’re eating, she will tell Baby-Doll, and now we’re about to go swinging. This morning, she decided, what was happening was that she was anticipating her future airplane ride.
So she told Baby-Doll: “Sophie airplane. Momma airplane. Daddy, ‘I kiss you! I kiss you'” Got that? Sophie will get on an airplane and Momma will get on an airplane too. I’m not sure whether it’s the same airplane or not, in Sophie’s mind, but what she is certain of is that the plane or planes will reunite us with her Daddy, who got on an airplane four weeks ago. When all these airplanes bring us back together, Sophie thinks that her Daddy will declare, “I kiss you,” exuberantly embracing Sophie after their long separation. These are Sophie’s plans that she tells to anyone who will listen, including Baby-Doll. The “I kiss you” part involves a lot of happy bouncing and hugging, to demonstrate what is soon to come.It’s an adorable glimpse of a girl who loves her Daddy and knows that he loves her.
But then it occurred to her that this whole scenario leaves out Baby-Doll. Sophie turned to me with a worried look and asked, “Baby airplane too?” I assured her that Baby-Doll would get to ride on the airplane too. She relayed this information to Baby-Doll.
Then she thought about it for a moment, and asked, “Blankie airplane too?”
Yes, her favorite soft-green blanket will ride on the airplane too. It’s the baby-blanket that Ben got me for my birthday when I was only 2 months pregnant, the blanket that I told him wasn’t really a birthday-present for me at all, but was so soft with its cute little zoo animals and the love he imbued it with that it has always been Sophie’s favorite blanket.
So now she is all set. She has packed, at least in her mind, everything that she cares about: Baby-Doll, Blankie, and me. She has modified the story, so now it is: “Sophie airplane. Momma airplane. Baby airplane, blankie airplane. Daddy. ‘I kiss you! I kiss you!'”
If only it were that simple. She doesn’t know it, but she’s also going to need her favorite orange bowl and orange spoon, her shoes & coats & hats & pyjamas & all her clothes with room to grow, her 3 favorite stuffed animals (Bear, Dog, and I haven’t yet decided who is in the number-3 spot), her purple-doll and possibly purple-doll’s milk-bottle, several toy cars, enough legos, some bouncy-balls, a harmonica and kazoo, maybe her favorite bath-toys, at least a half-dozen of her favorite books, a couple sippy-cups, a bib or two, her bike-helmet (she and I are going to have a car-free summer), toothbrush and hairbrush and I’m not sure what else. We won’t bring all that on the plane, of course, we’ll mail some of it ahead of time. The plane itself is going to require a lot of snacks, some new absorbing but quiet toys, 3 or 4 books, my trusty sling for carrying her through the airports, perhaps an Elmo DVD to watch on my laptop, lots of patience and some luck.
Even with that long list, there’s plenty we’ll be leaving behind: Sophie’s dollhouse, water-table, cymbals & drums, train-set, crib, high-chair, booster-seat, bicycle, bathtub crayons, stroller, carseat, ride-on-cars, rocking-horse, plastic dinosaurs, building blocks, best friends, backyard, Daycare Teacher, and cats. She doesn’t know it yet, but there’s a lot that she and I will both be missing by the middle of July.
It’s comforting to know, though, that none of that stuff is essential to her right now. Right now, all she wants to bring to Britain is Baby-Doll, Blankie, and Me.