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Changing of the Guard

Much to my surprise, the era of Dirty Dog and Dirty Dog’s Twin appears to have reached an end. For the past week or so, they have spent the night with me, as Simon has determined that I can “take care of the 7-year-olds” while he attends to the younger set. This is all a continuation of the increase in imaginative play that began earlier this summer, which I wrote about in a post called “Flights of Fancy“.

The younger set (for now, ages and relationships shift regularly) includes Funny Monkey, Secret Attic Monkey, and Rainbow Dolphie. These days, the imaginative play action is centered around Rainbow Dolphie.

According to Simon, Rainbow Dolphie is not quite 3, has climbed the Burj Khalifa—all 2717 feet of it—has made it to Mt. Midoroyima in American Ninja Warrior, and plays in a 3 and under soccer league. Clearly, Rainbow Dolphie is one busy dolphin, though I’d think a dolphin with his prodigious athletic gifts would play up in soccer. I’m sure he could hang with the U5s.

Honestly, most nights I can’t wait to get upstairs for pajamas, teeth-brushing, and bedtime because I am anxious to find out what incredible yarn Simon is going to spin about Rainbow Dolphie next. There’s always something.

Alas, at some point this summer I became a part of the nightly imaginative leaps. I can’t remember for the life of me, but one night well over a month ago I must have jokingly had Dolphie “help” me count to 60 while Simon did his nightly fluoride rinse. (Which we delicately call “swish and spit.” We are a family of rare refinement.)Well, that was a big hit, and Simon came to expect it from me.

Bored with the sameness, I then jokingly had Dolphie miscount one night, which was followed by a pantomime argument between the two of us over the correct count. That put Simon in stitches. Since then, it’s not enough for Dolphie to help him count. Dolphie has to find a funny way to help, and it has to change each night.

And so, Dolphie has clapped, leapt, Can-Canned, flipped, blasted off, push-upped, and sashayed his way to 60, often with comic mishaps or interludes inserted. By now, a distinct feeling of performance anxiety washes over me at 8:00 or so as I scramble to find a way to make it new. Every night I worry the well is dry. Every night, I come up with something silly and new. Last night it involved grabbing a foam golf ball and having Dolphie “juggle” his way to 60.

I don’t think I’ve done anything this consistently silly since the days when Matt and I made up songs about Simon based on the clothes he was wearing. It stands in stark contrast to both of our more serious natures, and I hope I can keep it going just a little longer. And of course, I have incentive: The nightly question might be how much longer can I keep this up, but the larger question is how much longer will Simon want me to.

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