The foxes were Evan's Imaginary Friend Practice Round, as it turns out. For the past few days, we've had a Tyrannosaurus Rex named Annie living with us. She came on Monday afternoon for a sleep-over (her parents came, too, because she was a little nervous about going anywhere without them). The three of them have had so much fun, though, that they've decided to stay awhile. The interesting thing about their arrival is that they came just two days after a Major Meltdown over Evan going somewhere without Sam or I. (Evan was having the meltdown, not me.) The issue was resolved (once we figured out WHAT the issue was...the incomprehensible screaming and thrashing made it difficult to communicate effectively) by Sam going along with him. And now, we have a little Tyrannosaurus at our house, who needs her parents with her because being by herself in a new place makes her nervous. Hmmmmm....
Monday night at dinner, Evan climbed into his chair and looked at the table.
"Mommy, you forgot to make a dinner for Annie!"
"Oh, well....what would she like to eat?"
"Just meat, Mommy. She's a carnivore." (Thank you, Dinosaur Train and PBS Kids!)
Before bedtime, I was reminded to brush Annie's teeth. I kissed Annie goodnight after tucking her in bed beside Evan.
We hosted our weekly neighborhood Playgroup at our house this week. Playgroup can be a stressful time for Evan, particularly when it's at our house (the mess, the noise, the sharing, etc.). This week was a small group, so it was pretty quiet, but about halfway through, I could see that Evan was starting to feel stressed. Sure enough, he came over to me and said, "Mommy, I think I'm going to go get Annie. She's upstairs." When the two of them came back down, Evan introduced Annie to the other moms: "This is Annie. Her mommy and daddy are up in the guest room. They're sleeping in."
Today was a school day...only the second school day since before the Christmas holiday due to snow. There was stress. There was anxiety. There was worry. But it wasn't Evan's.
"Mommy....um. I think Annie's a little nervous about going to preschool."
"That's okay. You can help her to feel better about preschool by telling her all about it. You can tell her about how much you love your teachers and how it will be so nice to see them again. You can tell her about the friends you'll see, and the Centers you might play in. You can bring her to the Writing Center--you said you wanted to draw a picture for Mom Mom and Pop, Annie can draw something for her mommy and daddy. You can tell her that preschool is fun."
"......Or maybe YOU could tell her about that stuff, Mommy."
And so I did. Until a little shy smile crept across his face.
"Annie feels better about preschool now, Mommy."
I'll welcome Annie (and her parents) into our home. I'll make her meals, brush her teeth, put on her shoes, tuck her in, kiss her goodnight, and, apparently, babysit her while her parents sleep in. And I'll do it all with patience and a smile on my face because Annie is a Classic Imaginary Friend to my little boy. She will carry his stress and worry his worries. She will reflect his emotions and absorb his insecurities. She will do for him what I can't. At least I hope she will. And so I hope she stays.