Sometime around the age of 18 months, Vivi became interested in babies. Actually, that is a bit of an understatement. Around 18 months, Vivi became OBSESSED with babies. Newborn or newly walking, boy or girl, awake or asleep-- it didn't matter so long as they were smaller than she was. Nine months later and this doesn't exactly feel like a phase anymore.
I've learned that Vivi has a sixth sense for babies. She just seems to know when there is one around. She can spot a baby carrier perched on a shopping cart or a stroller parked in the distance long before I do. I often become conscious of a baby's presence by Vivi's insistent repetition of "I see dat baby! I see dat baby!" If I don't bring her over to see the baby she has spotted, she will dissolve into a heaving mess of tears. It's not pretty.
While it is certainly a delight to see Vivi take an interest in someone other than herself, the baby obsession can have it's problems. You see, Vivi doesn't just want to see a baby. She wants to stare right at it, kiss it, shake it's hand, point out it's eyes, and most recently, feed it goldfish crackers. The delight is very often outweighed by the exhausting vigilance it requires to keep a healthy and happy distance between Vivi and said baby.
When Vivi turned two in April, she was the elated recipient of two "babies." One was a Waldorf-style doll she named "Turtle" and the other was a Cabbage Patch Doll named "Mariella." I also outfitted a wicker basket as a crib and made her a baby blanket. She takes her babies shopping, puts them in time-out, rocks them to sleep, and frequently puts her diapers or panties on them. Before I go to bed, it is not uncommon for me to find Vivi's doll(s) lying on her pillow covered in her blanket while Vivi sleeps without either comfort at the other end of the crib. (I guess those mothering instincts kick in early.)
You might think that the introduction of Mariella and Turtle have eased the desire to be around real babies. Well, not exactly. As the months continue to pass, it seems Vivi's baby fascination has entered a whole new realm. She talks nonstop about the upcoming arrival of her new cousin. She points to her belly and says, "Baby live in dare." When she points to my belly, she says "I live dare when I was lee-tle, lee-tle baby." And just a couple of weeks ago, we had this conversation:
Vivi: Mama, I want a baby to come live at our house.
Me: Really? What would you do with that baby?
Vivi: Carry it.
Me: That's nice. Anything else?
Vivi: Hit it.
Well, at least she's honest.