Little Missy didn't get her first baby doll until her first birthday. Prior to turning one, she only played with her brother's toys. As G's toy box was filled with Thomas and Percy and Diesel 10—all trains, for you folks who don't speak Thomas the Train—she didn't have any dolls with which to play. I suppose I had planned on getting her a baby doll at some point but she never complained about playing with trains (although, how would a non-talking, pre-one-year child complain about not having a baby doll? Still, she seemed fine) and so the urgency to buy her a doll was not felt by me or Hubby.
My parents arrived a day or two before her birthday and gave her a baby doll. SHE LOVED THAT THING. My little girl, barely able to walk herself, carried that doll everywhere. Then at her birthday party she got even more baby dolls, and my baby was in Baby Doll Heaven. As a one-year-old her mothering instinct was already present, and she hugged them and laid them down under blankets and kissed them and gave them bottles. Everything a good mommy does with her babies.
G, seeing the fun his sister was having with her dolls, picked one up and carried it around for a little while, confused by its appeal but determined to give it a try. He couldn't find the joy in a plaything that didn't have wheels and the doll was forgotten. But his sister has continued taking care of her dolls for the past two years.
Fast forward to now. This past Saturday afternoon I saw Little Missy walking her daddy up the stairs. Apparently he'd mentioned that he was tired so she was going to tuck him in to sleep. Not missing the opportunity for a nap, I ran upstairs and let her lay me down, too. Then Little Missy methodically went through the whole bedtime routine: she tucked in her daddy and then walked around the bed to tuck me in; she brought each of us a puppy toy from her own bed to cuddle while we slept; she brought each of us a cup of water for our before-bed drink; then she sat at the end of our bed and read us stories from her princess books. Everything a good mommy does with her babies.
That afternoon she was precious as she took care of us and laid us down to sleep. But we know that things will not go as smoothly the first time she tries to give either of us a time-out.