Monday, October 18, 2010

Is there a counselor in the house?

Life can be pretty crazy and I suppose we all have coping mechanisms of one sort or another -those little things we do to reboot, regroup, recharge, unwind, etc. For some of us, it's a glass of wine and dark chocolate (thank you Juli Bourden for reinforcing this one) but for three year olds it looks a little different.

I know of kids who have imaginary friends. Bella has never had one of these though she does go through occasional seasons of being her own imaginary friend named "Maddie." And her imagination sometimes confuses us -like when she says to Tim, "Daddy, you be the dad." It's typecasting, we know, but either way those drama days of high school really pay off. Tim totally rocks the "dad" role; very convincing.

But now Bella has taken coping to a new level. She's become a dog. Her name is Titan or Cooper (real names of real dogs) depending on her mood. She crawls on all fours. Kennels herself in an invisible crate which she insists must be locked lest she escape and she loves to do tricks. It got a little weird yesterday when we had company and she came crawling into the living room and said, "Mom, tell me to sit so I can get a treat." She continued to practice her obedience training as well as fetch. Fortunately, the company found it more cute than disturbing.

And it was... until this morning. She came into the bedroom first thing and already in character. Tongue hanging out, on her hands and knees, panting. I told her that I was really hoping to see Bella for a good morning hug and kiss. No change. So, then I suggested that "Titan" could go and find Bella and bring her back for some morning love. She headed out the door in search of ...herself. Tim shook his head. "I can't believe your playing along to convince our daughter not to be a dog." I didn't have much time to ponder it since Bella, er Titan, returned at that moment. Still crawling. "Where's Bella?" I asked. "She didn't want to come" came the reply.

I knew we'd have to pay for counseling at some point. I didn't expect any of them to crack so early. If she doesn't return to her human persona soon we will schedule her psych evaluation and I will need more dark chocolate. In the meantime, she is awfully cute and quite frankly, she's the best dog we've ever had! =)