Normally, Sasha is a pretty good kid—and pretty good at playing on her own or with other children. But lately she’s been getting on our fucking nerves, and it’s her damn doll—Baby Pizza, as she’s decided to name it—that’s to blame.
Every morning, every evening, we hear the same thing: “Daddy, I want baby to talk to me.” (When she addresses Mom, she says it in Chinese.) The idea is that one of us will hold Baby Pizza, a Corolle doll recommended by a reader long ago, and engage Sasha in conversation and play.
Very quickly, this became an annoying burden. Unlike other games Sasha likes to play—hide and seek, drawing, Lego building, dancing, etc.—this just requires a level of imagination and child-logic that neither Jean nor I can muster. We want to play with, though! We want to engage in stories and make-believe! But something about this is just impossible. Maybe it’s because Sasha wants us to start the activity, to come up with a storyline. Shouldn’t that be her job?
We’ve tried to turn this back on her. “Sasha,” I’ll tell her, “I want baby to talk to me!” But she absolutely refuses, and so now Jean and I are absolutely refusing. We’ve run out of clever things for Baby Pizza to say. And now I’m considering “losing” Baby Pizza entirely. I mean, I wouldn’t throw the doll away. We paid for it! But that doesn’t mean Baby Pizza couldn’t find her way to a far-off, hidden shelf in the closet, to be rediscovered years hence, when Sasha’s imaginative skills have developed a little more.
Is this bad? Really, I want to play with Sasha—or I want to want to. But it’s so hard! I just can’t think the way she does, I can’t be entertained on her level (unless we’re talking about farting or other silly matters). And I can’t figure out how to distract her from this goddamn doll. Maybe when Baby X—our real child—arrives in mid-September, Sasha can shift her attention to a sibling who can actually talk back. Ah, I get it: This is why people have second kids, right?