Eva’s imagination took off a few months into her second year, which is currently in its fall (she will be three at Christmas.) As a creative person I really felt this was going to be MY era or at least my best chance of being the favorite parent. Of course I was mistaken because in any good story there has to be a surprise and this was one of many in my own adventure in motherhood.
“Mommy tell me a story, tell me a story.”
“Once upon a time there was a magical fairy called Evangeline who was looking for a Rosemary bush to call her home.”
“No I want a story about a bunny.”
“Once Upon a time there was a mommy bunny who was looking for a den to raise her baby bunny in.”
“No I want a story about a daddy bunny.”
“Eva, I am your mommy, I DON’T tell stories about Daddy bunnies.”
This is how it went most nights when I put her to bed until at about age two and a half around her June 21st half birthday, Daddy and Mommy gave in to cartoons and Eva’s obsession with Peppa Pig bloomed. Soon much of her imaginative play had echoes of Peppa Pig episodes I had watched, half attentively, half blocking my ears from the annoying music. Officially children are not supposed to have any screen time until they are three years old, and part of me wishes she had never seen a cartoon or an ipad but you can only hold off technology for so long. Within a few months Eva can navigate my iphone better than her father who is still stuck on a blackberry.
In the Peppa Pig Universe, Peppa has a Mommy called Mommy Pig who is obsessed with working on her computer, which is very close to Eva’s reality. One night we were playing in Eva’s room before I put her to bed, and she held out the silver jewelry box she was given at her christening and said,
“Mommy, this is my secret box.”
“Why is it a secret?”
“It has a secret inside.”
At this point I began to remember the Peppa Pig episode when Peppa hid her favorite teddy in her secret box.
“What is inside, Eva?” I ask.
She opens the box and lets me look inside.
“Oh wow,” I said. “Your beautiful christening bracelet.”
Eva picked it out and gave it to me.
“It’s our secret Mommy, you are my best friend.”
Unsurprisingly I put her christening bracelet on my wrist and have been wearing it ever since in remembrance of the split second that I was Eva’s best friend. Of course my moment of glory was short lived.
I always knew Eva would be a tom boy but when her other best friend and cousin Sadie left her nursery leaving her, the only girl with three boys, it was pretty much the end of high heels, sequins, dolls, makeup, fights over the baby carriage and anything resembling decorum. Instead of being covered with lipstick she is covered with bruises, she can climb pretty much anything and is practicing her left hook. Soon she will ask me to call her Evan instead of Eva and want me to chop all her hair off, or finally convince me that she can actually pee standing up. The one thing that remains is her love for the colour pink- we will see how long that lasts.
Amid these changes she ditched another of her best friends, Peppa Pig and decided she would rather hang out with, and obsessively watch Scooby Doo. Scooby at least has more of a story than the Peppa Pig cartoons but for some kind of copyright reason full Scooby episodes are not on You Tube so if we are not at home and Eva has a craving, it is usually followed by a massive Scooby Doo tantrum and my commensurate frustration that she cannot yet grasp the concept of DVR and wireless internet technology.
Like Peppa Pig, the world of Scooby Doo crept into her imaginative play but in far less flattering ways. Last weekend we were playing what she calls her “clay-pen” because she can’t say “play-pen” properly or maybe she just can’t decipher mommy’s weird accent. While playing Eva decided to emulate her favorite cartoon.
“This is a treasure map.” She said, “Of South America.”
“Do you want Mommy to help Eva read the treasure map?”
“I am not Eva, I am Shaggy.”
“Okay, if you are Shaggy, who is Scooby Doo?”
“Piccolo,” She said referring to our miniature dachshund, and looking at me with a – you are a stupid mummy- look.
“Okay.” I said, “Can Mommy help Shaggy with the treasure map?”
“No, Fred has to help Shaggy.”
I look at her confused, “Who is Fred?” I ask.
“Daddy is Fred!!!!” She yells impatient with my ignorance.
“Is Fred going to help you?” I ask.
“Freddy! Freddy!” She demands from the other side of the playpen
“Read my map!”
Daddy reads the blank page and pretends to lead her to the buried treasure in South America ,which is what he has renamed the left couch in the living room.
“Can we get Mommy to help us Shaggy?” Chris/Fred asks Eva.
“You mean, Velma?” Eva says.
I choke on my water.
“Wait who am I, VELMA? Really… VELMA? “
“Yes Mommy, you are Velma and you don’t get to come to South America.”
“Oh,“ I say disappointed in being called Velma more than not getting to come to South America.
“Wait who is Daphne?” I ask.
“Bunny is Daphne.” She says referring to her stuffed bunny she carries around with her.
“VELMA?” I say again. Chris roars in laughter.
“I am no Daphne, but I am no Velma either! “ I say defensively.
“I don’t have glasses, I don’t have an old lady hair cut and I hate the colour orange.”
When Eva and Chris or rather Shaggy and Fred finally got back from their love affair in South America, Velma was ready to negotiate.
“In Scooby Doo, Shaggy and Velma love each other, right?”
“Yes Velma I love you.”
“Oh thanks Eva.”
“Sorry, Thanks Shaggy.”
“Shaggy, would it be okay if Mommy was Scrappy Doo instead of Velma?”
Shaggy took some time to think it over.
“Shaggy would you like a piece of chocolate, Scrappy do has some in the fridge, but Velma is on a chocolate free diet.”
True to character she said, “Yes Scrappy I would like a piece of chocolate, a big piece.”
And so from that moment on Velma up-negotiated through chocolate to become, Scrappy Do which seems fitting to Derelict Mom as I have always been a bit Scrappy and Eva did not seem to mind as she was still chasing Daddy around the house, saying,
“Freddy, Freddy, Freddy! “
Eva’s attribution of Daddy as Freddy, Mommy as Velma, and herself as Shaggy made me wonder about self image, and when we should worry about our young girls and trying to lead by example. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been so worried about being called Velma after all as she is the smart one. When I was young I wanted to be a boy and although I couldn’t wish that into reality, I did become a tom boy and Eva seems to be following suit.
I am not so sure what to make of my most recent finding from within her playpen, which is pictured below. Her cousin Sadie gave her some dress up dolls for Christmas and Eva has taken great pleasure not in dressing them up as was intended but in desecrating their naked bodies with scribbles especially the blonde one that looks the most like her. I wonder if I should I be worried?
Xx Derelict Mom a.k.a VELMA Scrappy Do!