The other night at bath time, Ben and I somehow ended up endowing our bottles of shower gel, shampoo, conditioner and Burt's Bees Bath Soap as characters in an adventure drama that involved a variety of water rescue scenarios.
Ben played with them as if they were action figures, giving them voices and making them fly through the air, swim in the tub and have the kind of conversations that Ben has just been learning.
"Hi! I'm Burt's Bees. What's your name."
"I'm Shower Gel."
"Hi, Shower Gel. Will you play with me?"
The next night, I accidentally pinched his finger in a bathroom cabinet, and through his tears, told me over and over again, "I want to call Laura and tell her what happened!" Ever since the balloon incident, when something traumatic happens, he wants to tell somebody about it - usually his teachers Laura and Gladis. The urge usually only lasts a moment, but this time he was more insistent.
"I think Laura's asleep already," I said, appealing to his sense of reason.
"What will happen if I wake her up? What will happen if I wake everybody up?"
I stalled, not knowing how to redirect. Then, he came up with something different on his own.
"I want to tell Burt's Bees and Shower Gel and Shampoo and Conditioner what happened."
We went to the bathroom and I lined the bottles up on the edge of the bathtub. He sat on my lap and instructed me to have Burt's Bees ask him what happened.
"What happened, Ben?" asked Burt's Bees
"Mommy pinched my finger in that door." he began, pointing to the cabinet.
The bottles (me, talking and wiggling the bottles) and Ben then had a talk about accidents and how to feel better.
"Sometimes I hurt myself when I'm running," he confided towards the end of the conversation. "I need a band-aid and I find a grown-up or a teacher and they will give me lots of hugs and I will feel better."
We said good night to the bottles, but not before giving them a quick ride in a race car and a rocket ship. "I'm all better," Ben announced cheerily as Chris poked his head in the door.
Many parents might be worried if their child started talking to the toiletries, but I'm elated.
I think I've just found the cheapest live-in speech therapists on the planet.