Eeyore Empathy

Sophie noticed that her stuffed Eeyore looked sad. So she gave him some of her socks. “Maybe he is cold,” she told me, and I agreed: socks often make me happy.

But Eeyore still looked sad even while wearing Hello-Kitty socks. So Sophie decided to take Eeyore to school to cheer him up. Sophie told me, “Maybe, when I am at school, mean kids come into the house and hurt Eeyore.” Oh, my overly-sympathetic daughter. I don’t know how to explain to her that Eeyore always looks sad.

I’ve tried reading her sections of A. A. Milne, and I’ve tried re-enacting scenes from Winnie the Pooh, but giving her the back-story just makes her want to find Eeyore’s tail and celebrate Eeyore’s birthday and cheer him up.

My sweet sweet daughter wants to fix the world. I’m not sure I want to stop her — but I am worried about the inevitable disappointment she’s going to face when she realizes the limits of her powers.

Sophie reported that a day at school cheered Eeyore up a little bit. Now I have helped her devise a new routine. Now, every morning when she leaves for school, she carefully places her stuffed Eeyore next to our real cat, and she talks to our cat: “If any mean kids come to hurt Eeyore, just scratch them, okay?” She makes scratching motions, because she knows our cat needs to see, not hear. This fantasy is very real to her.

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