Charlotte has a set of "friends" that she absolutely cannot go to bed without. Let me just list them, so that you can get an idea for what I'm dealing with: Tigger, Pooh, Big Tigger, Minnie, Mickey, Other Mickey, Lambie, Amme, Pink, Princess Cat, Baby Ginny, Baby Llama, Nemo, Goofy, and Donald. Now, see, I am certain that I am forgetting at least one.
If these "friends" stayed up in her room, we wouldn't really have a problem because they'd all end up with her at night. Instead, she brings some subset of them down every day for escapades. Which inevitably leads to a wake up call at 2:30 am "Can't find Lambie!!!" How in the world that kid takes inventory at 2:30 am, in the dark, I will never know. But she is always right, and she'll tell you that Lambie is downstairs playing marble game in front of the TV. And off you'll go in search of Lambie, or else you will never sleep again.
Lately, some of her friends have taken on personalities. And let me tell you, that Princess Cat is trouble. Princess Cat seems to be Charlotte's (even more) evil twin. In fact, Princess Cat is only recently released from a week's long incarceration in Charlotte's room. This stemmed from a few days of Charlotte repeatedly causing Princess Cat's hard plastic face to connect at great speed with Elisabeth's soft fleshy face.
And this is how our conversations went:
Elisabeth: Academy Award winning sobfest. The kind that puts Sally Field to shame.
Me (yelling, obviously): CHARLOTTE! Did you hit Elisabeth?
Charlotte: (completely emotionless face, sort of indignant) No. Princess Cat did.
So Princess Cat, since she couldn't figure out a way to keep her plastic face to herself, had to live in Charlotte's room for a week.
Charlotte creates drama between the friends too. Here's an example:
Charlotte, running over to me, somewhat upset: Mommy! Lambie is crying!
Me: Oh no, why??
Charlotte: Pink kicked her in the face.
I put Pink directly into time out for that one.
Charlotte has an active relationship with her stuffed "friends," something we never saw with Elisabeth. She has complete, lengthy conversations with them. Consoles them when one of the other ones assaults them; watches out for their best interests. Just the other day, she had a major meltdown while listening to They Might Be Giants' Here Comes the ABCs in the car. Pictures of Pandas Painting came on, and Charlotte was literally in tears because it is Pink's song (the letter P), and Pink wasn't there to hear it.
This afternoon, Charlotte introduced Princess Cat to the washing machine. "See dat Princess Cat? Clothes go round round round. See clothes in dere?" Then tonight as we played a game of Sorry, Mickey, Pink, and Princess Cat each had to take a turn watching what we were doing as Charlotte explained to them. "Soooorrrrrry Princess Cat."
She isn't that cautious with them though. Just this morning, Princess Cat got tossed onto the floor while Charlotte played in her play kitchen. I guess nature called, Charlotte was wearing her big girl undies, and Princess Cat took the brunt of the accident. In a highlight of my parenting career, I found myself Googling "wash baby doll hair" and breaking my favorite comb trying to brush the dredlocks out of her hair after washing it with my fancy schmancy shampoo and conditioner.
I am very interested to watch a world ruled by Charlotte develop. I'm thinking Lord of the Flies.