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Meet Willie. He is Matt’s Childhood puppet. He has a friend. His name is Harold. Willie and Harold have been through a lot. A lot of abuse from a young and over-loving Matt in the days of their youth. Willie, now threadbare and delicately held together with some strategic application of hot glue, barely fits our girls contemporary idea of what’s fitting for a toy. Therefore Willie is scary. Harold is scary too, simply by association with Willie, albeit less so. In fact, poor Willie and Harold were hardly tolerated in this house until recently. Even Matt on several occasions attempted to part ways with his defunct friends (thanks to the nostalgic and sentimental Mommy they were saved from the trash pile more than once). Suddenly the girls have taken a bit of a liking to Willie and Harold. Well, perhaps that is a bit of an overstatement. I think they moreso like their Daddy playing silly and trying to ‘get’ them. Araiya, in particular, understands better the anthropomorphism of Willie, or rather, the lack thereof. Much akin to her fear of dogs (and cats and butterflies and birds) I believe the fear stems from her perception that animalistic objects have erratic and unpredictable movements on their own. Now that they better understand the nature of something like a puppet and how it moves on it’s own accord, or rather, lack thereof. But this is an entirely new big step for her (and Tallis in suit who’s so heavily influenced by Araiya’s emotions at this point). One day in Children’s Ministry they popped a Donkey Puppet named Calvin unexpectedly through a curtain who talked in a he-hawing loud voice. I arrived a few seconds after Calvin made his debut appearance and was initially unable to find my child in her classroom, until I realized she was the pair of feet cowering under the table. Her preference would have been to not ever go back there, but we aided her teachers by providing a bag full of our puppets the next week for the children to play with and Calvin was introduced in a much less spontaneous way. Perhaps that has been the turning point for her. This weekend she even pet a dog, a real LIVE dog at that, for the first time EVER. She said it was okay because it was a little dog. And Tallis apparently wants to have two little dogs when she grows up. Big steps none the less. There’s been no pushing, no forcing, no coercing. I really can’t stand it when a well-meaning dog owner (who moments before was encouraging their large Lab to climb up and play on the children’s structure at a park) tells me how ‘nice’ their dog is and maybe my screaming kids will just get over it if they pet the dog. Because, you know, it’s nice. Definitely doesn’t help my plight. Patience, gentleness, explanation, opportunities. If Willie can be one of these opportunities to help these girls understand their world, themselves and the nature of their perceived fears, GREAT! Thanks Willie, for your years of Dedicated Service.

Of course there is the aspect too that these girls will take any excuse to get to goof off with their Daddy.

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