My daughter loves to invent new games. One that she loves to play is called ‘Send the baby’. Although the way she pronounces it is “Spin the Baby”, which for me conjures up images of preschool kids sitting around a circle, taking turns spinning a baby doll.....but thankfully, she clarified, and it’s definitely ‘Send the Baby’. Here’s how to play:
My daughter will ring the pretend doorbell from the hallway. She’ll shout, “DING-DONG”! I’ll come to the pretend door and pretend to open it. There’s no one there. I’ll look to the right- nothing. I’ll look to the left- nothing. I’ll shrug my shoulders and pretend slam the door. My daughter will ring the doorbell a second time.
“Well what now...”? I’ll say, as I approach the pretend doorway. She’ll run off and hide, giggling as I look again to see no one is there. I’ll shake my fist and say something like, “Those darn TEENAGERS”! and she’ll laugh harder. Then I’ll pretend slam the door again.
“DING-DONG”....she’ll yell again, and this time when I open the door I’ll look down at the ground where she has left her doll. I’ll feign surprise and say, “Oh MY! Somebody left me a BABY! What is this baby doing on my doorstep? Poor baby! Is there no one here to take care of the baby”? My daughter will sit in her hiding spot, covering her mouth to stifle her giggles.
I’ll cuddle the baby and bring it “inside”, wrap a blanket around her, and tell her that everything will be okay. This is usually my daughter’s cue to ring the pretend doorbell again. I’ll answer the pretend door and she'll explain that she is the one who left the baby, because she found the baby all alone, and that the baby didn’t have parents to care for it (I'll spare you the psychoanalysis on this one). I’ll invite my daughter “in” for a snack, and once she’s comfortable that she’s given her baby-friend a good home, she’ll say goodbye to us and go back to “her house”.
Once while playing the game, I brought the baby in as usual. I was giving the baby cuddles, and telling the baby how much I would love her as I was wrapping her in a blanket. My daughter hadn’t rung the doorbell yet, so I kept talking to the baby, saying how much fun we would have together. I told the baby about all the fun things we would do, the places we would go-- to the park, to grandma and grandpa’s house, to the fair; and I mentioned that maybe we could go to Disney World sometime. As I talked to the baby about the Disney princesses, the Dumbo ride, and the breakfasts with Minnie Mouse and Mickey Mouse, I could hear my daughter upstairs. I thought maybe she forgot about the game, so I left the baby on the couch, and started to straighten up in the living room. I was putting the books back on the shelf when I heard the “DING-DONG”!
My daughter was back. I opened the pretend door to find her sitting on the floor, suitcase in hand.
She looks up at me and says, “Hi. My parents are both dead. Can you take care of me”?