Monday, December 13, 2004

dear meaghan

Dear Meaghan,
This morning you invited Mom and Dad to the birthday party of a very special person to you: your doll, Sarah.

The invitation read on the front: “Happy Birthday, Daddy.” At first, I thought you were celebrating my birthday, but then I read on the inside that it was really for “Serah”. You folded a piece of A4 paper in half, drew a picture and some balloons on the front and another picture on the inside with the words of invitation on the inside facing page.

Upon arrival in your room, we found all the other guests of honor already assembled. Lexi, your stuffed beagle (that looks at lot like Lexi, our real dog) was there in a posture we would never see our real Lexi in: still. Molly was there, red, matted hair trimmed haphazardly by you some months ago. Today she didn’t have on any clothes, so Mom gestured to get her dressed. She pulled out a proposed outfit but that outfit, which contained lace around the neckline, wasn’t deemed “pretty” enough to your taste. So, Molly remained undressed for the duration of the party. Lamby was there as well, dressed in muted lime green. Lamby has to be the softest stuffed animal—strike that, softest anything—I have ever touched. Sheer comfort. You had some other guests present too, but I fail to remember who they were just now since Sarah, Molly, Lamby and Lexi (both real and stuffed) played the lead parts in your birthday party drama.

We started your party per your request with some games. We played “Duck, duck, goose.”

(By the way, it should be called “Duck, Duck, Grey Duck” and don’t ever let your Mom or anyone else convince you otherwise! It’s more fun that way. Instead of just walking around blandly chanting, “duck. duck. duck. duck. duck. GOOSE!” you get to use all kinds of different colors and fake people out: “Red duck, Blue duck, Purple duck, Grrrrrrrreen duck…”—notice the little “teaser”?— “Orange duck, Yellow duck, Chartreuse duck…” --see how you can think up all kinds of cool colors?—“Black duck, Grey duck!” This version is much more fun than “Duck, duck, goose”, in my humble opinion. Anyway, I digress—back to your party game…)

Since there were only three humans and one dog present (compared to a vast multitude of stuffed animals and dolls), most of the actual playing was done by the manufactured entities. The way this happened was by you holding them in your arms and having them touch each “person” present while putting on a voice that was only slightly different from your own. We weren’t exactly seated in a circle, and after the first round of play we needed to move the fan from the center of the room. After the second round, we needed to move the desk chair. Having cleared the area, we could then proceed to play properly.
After “Duck, Duck, Goose” you proposed we play “Pass the Parcel”. You had a little toy “Barbie” radio (about one and a half inches high by about 4 inches wide) that played a song for all of 2 seconds that you deemed suitable for the musical portion of that game. Upon pressing the button, the lot fell to Mom. Since you didn’t have an actual “Parcel” for the game, you just made one up on a common index card and handed it to Mom.

After that, we played “I Spy.” Your dolls and pets joined in on that too, which was quite interesting. You made up an item that we would have to guess and, in the voice of Sarah, would give us our first clue. But before we got a chance to guess, you would take a guess. Funnily, even though you were the one who thought up the item and the clue in actual point of fact, you would guess wrong! I suspected this was because of your kind heart: you wanted to let us have a chance at guessing.

After games, we sang “Happy Birthday” to Sarah. You were the song-leader, and though you probably kept pitch, it is unknown to me at present if Mom and I sang the song in one, two or three different keys throughout its cadence. Having stumbled through the song, you “cut” pieces of cake for us (a three-tiered plastic jobby) and handed it to us. Mom dug right into her piece, but I was polite and waited until everyone was served (including the dolls). We feasted till our bellies burst and then bid Sarah and all your visitors a farewell.

Looking back into your room as I was leaving, you were smiling (such a beautiful smile you have!). I asked, “Do you want me to shut the door?” You responded, “Yes, please.” I closed the door and heard you saying something to your friends. It is unclear to me what you said, but I suspect Sarah, Molly, Lamby and Lexi understood. I smiled and shuffled downstairs.

You are a delight, my child.

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