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All Hail Bunny Bob!

Last year around Easter, my step mom showed up with a huge stuffed bunny for Simon. “Oh, for Easter!” I smiled as I admired the giant white bunny with a bow around its neck.

“Yes,” Ruth replied. “For Easter. But there’s more. You’ll understand later today.”

I would?

Several hours later a giant white bunny made its appearance on the stage at Actor’s Theater of Louisville during their Festival of New American Plays. I smiled broadly at the sight of the thing and the understanding of what Ruth had meant. As it turns out, “Bob” the bunny was the only thing I really liked about the play, “All Hail Hurricane Gordo,” which I otherwise found painful to watch.

Over a year later, Bob the Bunny has become “Baby Bob”, and he has a very special place in our home.

Yes, I did call him baby Bob, and no, that wasn’t a typo.

I guess because of his size, Simon started carrying Bob and tucking him under blankets as though he were a baby. He became a great favorite amid the entourage, and he is frequently tucked in beside Simon at night and during naps.

Lately, though, things have gotten more complicated: Baby Bob has become Simon’s surrogate, and many of Simon’s emotions get projected onto him and then addressed in reference to him.

I can’t pinpoint when this began, but I remember exactly when it reached its full flower. It was about two weeks ago, and Simon had just awoken from a nap and was inconsolable. This is a common occurrence, sufficiently so that Matt and I have a term for it: “difficult re-entry.” Simon has a hard time fully waking up from his afternoon nap and often needs a long time to warm up. If he’s going to be fussy for more than a few minutes, odds are it will happen between his nap and dinner.

By now, we are used to this and we have a recipe for dealing with it. We change his diaper while he cries, we carry him downstairs while he cries, we bring him a glass of water and a fruit bar while he cries, and then we plug him into Curious George or a movie as fast as we can and ignore him for 20-30 minutes, by which time he’s come out of his funk and is our delightful little boy once more.

This routine is effective 99% of the time and lazy 100% of the time. So about two weeks ago, when Simon awoke and seemed to be having a difficult time of it, I had a rare parenting epiphany, picked up Bob, and began to talk to him as though he were Simon.

“Oh, Bob. I’m so sorry honey. I know… I know. It can be really hard to wake up from a nap.”

Simon quit crying and looked over at the scene. I turned to face him.

“Simon, Baby Bob is having a hard time waking up. Do you think you can help him?”

A few sniffles. Tears wiped with the back of his hand. And then, in a tiny voice: “Yeah.”

“What shall we do with Baby Bob? Does he need a hug?”

A little bolder now, and with drying eyes. “Yeah. I hug Baby Bob.”

I handed Bob over to him and had Simon “console” him.

“What about a snack? Shall we go downstairs and give Baby Bob a snack.”

“Yes!” said emphatically this time, with his attention focused solely on Bob.

I then hauled Simon hauling Baby Bob down the stairs, set them beside each other on the couch, went to get a fruit bar, and looked on with surprised delight as Simon “fed” Baby Bob bites of the bar and then gobbled it up himself. The entire difficult re-entry lasted two minutes or less, and I felt much better about the parenting going on.

Since then, we’ve worked through many issues with Baby Bob. Not just naps, but also scary dreams, scary loud noises, and even a few cuts and scrapes.

I’m not sure exactly why this is so effective. I don’t know if Bob is a distraction, or if by having Bob mirror Simon he better understands what he is feeling, or if it’s another mechanism entirely.

I just know that at this point, Simon and I both adore Baby Bob. All hail Bob!

One Response to “All Hail Bunny Bob!”

  1. Amanda says:

    Brilliant! Think Simon would lend me Baby Bob? I have difficult “re-entries” too, after my naps.

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