This year for Maly’s 3rd birthday we bought her a dollhouse. She LOVES her dollhouse. Every day she asks her mom or me if we want to play with her dollhouse with her. It’s not that we don’t want to, it’s that we’re 30-somethings and we have bigger and better things to do. So we think, and we lie and rationalize with ourselves into thinking we’ve too many other important things to do. I always reach deep into my heart and remember those few days where there was total silence in the house, and how those days will be all too often in the not-to-distant future. If I’m in the worst of moods or have so much on my mind at the moment that the last thing that I have time to do is play with my daughter, I remind myself that there is nothing more important than being there for my family.
So, to genuinely play with my daughter and a dollhouse, I have to harness the child within and be sensitive to the fact that I have a girly-girl of a daughter who really wants to play with her dolls as dolls, not ninjas, soldiers or cyborgs from the future. I have resolved to the fact that I can play and engage in the masculine form. Maly has grown accustom and always hands me my “doll”, Mike I’m Married.
When we bought the dollhouse, it came with a few things like a table, chairs, high chairs for the kids, a swing, picnic table, grill and a slide. It also included a nuclear family; a clean-cut daddy, a loving mom, and two adorable twins, a boy and a girl. If I was going to have to play with dollhouse, it was quickly known that I would play the part of the dad. And I would barbecue with the included grill. I would use that grill a lot.
My character’s name was quickly christened “Mike”. After a few minutes of playing with Maly and her dollhouse the first time, I noticed Mike had a little wedding ring painted on his left hand. As play continued and we introduced a few Barbie dolls and other toys, Mike would introduce himself to whomever Maly was playing with as “Hi, I’m Mike, I’m married.” Which soon just became Mike’s name, Mike I’m Married. He still goes by just Mike in short form. In order to maintain Mike’s utmost manliness, I quickly created a short theme song (think Budweiser jingle/rock ‘n’ roll anthem sung in a raspy rocker voice):
“Mike I’m Married, I married Erica!
Mike I’m Married, I love America!”
So Mike I’m Married and his family have a pretty standard life. They also have quite an extended family and friends. Without going into much greater detail, here is an introduction to Mike’s family and friends:
Starting at the top:
Lolly & Toony: They’re a couple mermaids that come by to play. They usually stay up on the top floor. They’re good people.
The Lemon Monster: He swings by and steals things and hides them. He has a high-pitched, sing-songy voice. He often frustrates Maly. I use him to help Maly understand that there are often people in society that will be frustrating and do wrong things. I try to teach her how to understand, cope and rationalize with these frustrating people.
Charlie and Emi Elizabeth: They’re a couple teenage girls that just kind of hang out, listen to music on their headphones by the lamp upstairs and play with the animals. They’re good folk as well and keep things tidy around the house and yard.
Tricky: It (haven’t determined sex yet) is the family canine. It barks a lot. Maly likes to play the part of Tricky quite often. Tricky has a litter of pups. The pups’ names change frequently.
Chip: Chip to me is just a worthless sack of shit. I don’t tell this to Maly, but dammit, Chip needs to get his lazy ass up and get a job. Or mow the yard. Something. Anything. He pretty much takes up the entire second floor of the house and doesn’t do a damn thing. He’s ALWAYS sleeping. That boy just ain’t right.
Barbara: She’s a Barbie from the old school. She wears a dress that Elise’s grandma made for her. She’s pretty conservative, likes to cook, dance and brush her hair. She’s an honest and humble homemaker. She’s extended family, I’m still not sure of origin.
Mary Ann: I sing or whistle Alice Cooper’s “Mary Ann” every time she makes an entrance. Elegant, beautiful, debonair, classy, LOVES to dance and garner compliments. She is a girly-girl. She is the daughter of Barbara. She was the present that Elise and I bought for Maly after she successfully pooped in the potty.
Erica: Mike I’m Married’s wife. Mike loves her to death, even though she has really bad hair. She’s a stay-at-home wife and keeps up the house and kids.
Ted: Mike and Erica’s son. He likes to swing and eat Slim Jims.
Lilly: Mike and Erica’s daughter. She kind of clingy and whiny. She likes to eat pizza and ride on the slide.
Mike I’m Married: The man of the estate. Mike drives downtown on his propane grill to his job in an office where he does a lot of emailing and is stressed a lot. He loves his family more than anything… Even Chip. And the dog.
UPDATE: I showed Maly the diagram of her family today and she was excited to see that everyone was documented. She even included a little commentary about Chip.