Devilish Fun

Julia's fascination with the nativity story is only growing. The past couple days, she's spent at least a couple hours using a toy barn and a motley collection of LEGO, Playmobil, Little People, and other dolls to act out elaborate scenarios involving Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. She recites every line in that You Tube video. To say she's engrossed in all this is to understate the depth of her focus. In fact, the only things that break her concentration are the need to ask me questions ("Why did Mary have to have Jesus in the stable? Didn't they have hospitals in Bethlehem?") and the need to resist raids by her sister.

Vivi loves to barrel into the room where Julia is playing, scoop up one of the toy figures (usually, the blonde, pink-clothed Playmobil doll which is most often Jesus), and then race away, literally cackling with glee. She zooms down the hall in her little bottom-heavy run, darts into the girls' room, and happily shuts the door. If you go and open the door to look inside, you find her standing next to the bed, clutching the purloined Savior in her sweaty palm and giggling. She may be acting the part of a minor demon, but it's a very cute, towheaded imp who may or may not be clad only in a diaper.

Of course, Julia hates this. "I hate when she does this, Daddy!" The first few times this happened today, she tore off after Vivi and tried to wrest the stolen toy away. This, naturally, never worked. Finally, I counseled Julia to do the opposite of trying to get the doll back: to instead just keep playing with the other dolls, preferably without even commenting on Vivi's thievery. I assured her that Vivi was only taking the dolls because Julia kept reacting with so much annoyance and anger.

Julia doubted all this, but I told her that this is what my mom told me to do when faced, in sixth grade, with that hat-stealing Kyle Zarimba. Ignoring him worked like a charm, I told Julia, and I got my kromer back right away. She agreed to try it the next time Vivi launched one of her nativity raids.

Ten seconds later, Vivi swooped in on the ersatz Bethlehem, grabbed someone, and disappeared down the hallway. Julia didn't follow. A minute after that, Vivi opened the door to see if Julia was coming, even calling, "Oo-ia?" Julia yelled back, "I'm in here playing, Genevieve!" Vivi opened the door wider, walked down the hall to Julia, and handed back the stolen toy, then sat down to look at a magazine. Probably "Toddling Devilry Today."

Forecast: Significant blowing and drifting, with the possibility of heavy accumulation in rural areas.