Breakfast with Maui and Goodnight Toothless
The quarantine coping mechanisms of a social 4-year-old
I have a confession to make. We might be breaking social distancing rules. Lately, we’ve had a lot of visitors. For instance, yesterday I spent the whole day with Maui, the Polynesian demigod. Maui emerged from my 4-year-old daughter’s bedroom at about 6 am and announced that he needed some juice. He then explained, over a bowl of Cheerios, that he had lost his infamous hook but instead had a magical speaker that played music. (Interestingly, Maui mostly enjoyed playing the soundtrack from Frozen II.) And Maui didn’t fade away mid-morning as I expected. In fact, I had a fight with Maui at the end of the day when I wanted to wash his “tattoos” which were covered in ketchup.
My daughter, Lark, takes her outfits quite seriously. She used to show up to school with patterns layered upon patterns layered upon patterns. She definitely has her own sense of “style,” if you can call it that, and I’ve given up trying to control it other than insist that she is dressed warmly enough for the weather.
But lately, since Covid, since we’ve been in quarantine, Lark’s style has gone to a whole new level of character embodiment. I had dinner a few nights ago with Macklemore, who kept telling me he had twenty dollars in is pocket. And that he hated my pasta.
A sporty character also shows up every few days. By style and hair alone, my husband and I call him Andre, after the great Agassi. He can be quite intense and very competitive. He tends to overestimate his abilities and has engaged in wrestling matches with my 8-year-old that do not end well.
“Spider Girl” spent a sunny afternoon with us and embodied that innocent, sweetness that is also characteristic of Peter Parker. However, Spider Girl’s cape got caught in the spokes of her bike during a dog walk, and we never saw Spider Girl again. Lark came home in a rage, betrayed by her costume, and I had to walk down the road to retrieve Spider Girl’s cape on a neighbor’s lawn.
Captain Marvel is the most confident and has a range of powers from shooting lighting bolts to being able to dance without stopping. (She has clearly learned a lot since her last appearance in an Avengers movie.)
And then there is a interesting character who is a blend of Rainbow Bright and Toothless. “Toothbright” is as you would expect: timid but still curious and full of magical thinking.
All humor aside, though, I think Lark possibly is expressing what we all are feeling these days: that we miss other people. We miss our family members who don’t live with us. We miss our friends. We miss getting to know new people.
Some of us are sick and tired of the one or two other people with whom we have spent the last 30 plus days of quarantine, and some of us live alone and would do anything for the company of another human being. I worry about those who live alone. (Please check often on those you know who live alone.)
Perhaps my daughter has decided that if you can’t bring other people over to your house, then the next best option is to create them? I’m not suggesting that we all need to start role playing or inventing invisible friends. I’m just saying that we’re all coping. We’re all feeling a little bit crazy at times. And that is OK.
So we jump on the trampoline with Maui, we dance with Macklemore, and we tuck Toothbright into bed.
I wonder whether they will stick around after quarantine is lifted…
For now, the more the merrier.