Amelie has been into dramatic play of late, in which everyone assumes an new identity. Recently, the most popular has been Mary and Elizabeth. That would be Amelie as Mary, the mother of our Lord and me as Elizabeth, her cousin. Playing usually goes something like this:
Mary/Amelie: "Hello Elizabeth."
Elizabeth/me: "Hello Mary."
Mary/Amelie: "Where's Zechariah?"
Elizabeth/me: "He's at work. Where's Joseph?"
Mary/Amelie: "He's at work too. At work sometimes he works out and he finds bagels." (sounds strangely like what Amelie knows of Daddy's work activities)
Elizabeth/me: "I see..."
Mary/Amelie: "Where's Baby John?"
Elizabeth/me: I answer with whatever Linus is doing. However, sometimes Linus is Baby Jesus. He plays a dual role. Although, is it complete heresy to call my own son "Baby Jesus?"
Mary/Amelie: "Violet, you're our friend Sarah." (That would be a random Jewish-sounding name I came up with to include Violet, since I couldn't think of another contemporary female of Mary and Elizabeth, except maybe Mary Magdelene, and I wasn't going there.)
Sarah/Violet: "I Sarah"
Mary/Amelie: "We're going to Pennsylvania to visit my friend Ducky (what we call Duncan's mom). Joseph is getting ready for the trip but he's very sick with a stomach ache because he ate a bone of meat."
Elizabeth/Me: "Oh, my! Not a bone of meat!"
Mary/Amelie: "Yeah, he had to go to the hospital."
Elizabeth/Me: "Violet if you're done with the book, please go and put it away. Don't just drop it on the-
Mary/Amelie: "Her name is Sarah!"
Sarah/Violet: "I Sarah"
Elizabeth/Me: "Sarah, put the book away. I need to go and change Linus' diaper."
Mary/Amelie: "Don't you mean Baby John?"
As you can see, much of our play includes reminders of who everyone is. We've also played this using cousins. I'm Aunt Darcy, Amelie is Jack (her boy, yet long-haired cousin), and Duncan is Derek, another cousin. Another variation is using my oldest sister's family-- Duncan is Uncle Dan, I'm Aunt Karen, Amelie is "little girl" Erin, Violet is Megan, and Linus is Baby Patrick. (These cousins are 20, 18, and 14, mind you.)
It's great fun to watch Amelie's imagination develop as she tries out being different characters. The looks on her face as she talks about matters like the "bone of meat" are hilarious, beyond anything I could express in words.
She continues her trend of social play--wanting to always do things with us, not on her own. When I grow weary of this, I need to remember that there may come a day when she wants very little to do with me. I need also to remember the wisdom that Duncan's boss, Lee, shared with him while I was pregnant with Amelie: They just want to be with you.
I can't tell you how many times I've gone back to that, contemplating how true it is. She just wants to be with me.