Tending to Dolls

It was only a couple months ago that Aria showed interest in dolls. It was as if when each new chord of imagination connected in her brain, dolls leaped forward in prominence in her simple life. 

I didn’t get her any, though Grandma G got her a little doll with a magnetic binkey. They became the enticement to get her to stay in the gym daycare.

First she just wanted to hold as many as she could. It was about possession of a friendly face, rather than imaginary friendship. 

Then another thread looped in her mind and she was pushing the doll around in a stroller or cart. But she’d do this with a bowl of cereal with just as much attachment. No extended attachment.


Then another thread connected and launched quick glittering moments of imitation — giving the baby a bottle or putting her to bed. 

Another week or two passed and now on occasion baby was coming with us into the car, but tossed aside and forgotten soon after. 

At Christmas this year one more thread clicked. Concern. Empathy. Love. 

She got a doll and a velveteen rabbit for Christmas. If I tell Aria she needs a hat so her head will stay warm, then Baby needs a hat too. If Aria feels thirsty, then she’ll make sure baby gets a sip of milk too. As Grandpa C read her stories this evening, she made sure Rabbit and Baby could listen too, and patted a blanket atop them asking “Cold?” Wherever we go, whatever we do, she looks around, saying “Baby? Baby? Rabbit?”

I like seeing this motherly empathy developing in her. It’s tender. I wonder if it’s a first stage to really being able to read other people or think from their perspective. Empathy is the essence of goodness. 

And if I have two hopes for Aria’s life it is 1. that she will always be able to find happiness inside herself and 2. that deep down at her heart’s core will be empathy and love and the wisdom in how to express both. 


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