Geeklet has a new friend. Her name is Eliza Dogooder, and she is my hard-traveling, upbeat, bouncy-happy inner three-year-old. And I discovered something today.

As a stay-at-home mom, I sometimes (read: often) feel that strain between playing with the boy and cleaning or doing otherwise “relevant” work. I write this, and feel amazement at the words I see on the screen, because nothing is more important in the boy’s world than play right now–it is his work, his waking and dreaming, his bread and butter. And theoretically, I stay home so I can teach him and guide him. Not so I can scrub the sink.

So, having a difficult time letting go of housecleaning tasks (which, like empty calories, fill the void but are not Important in the grand scheme of things), I did the next best thing. I went into the other room, closed the door, sound-mimed someone arriving, wrapped a scarf around my neck and put on a long necklace, and emerged as Eliza.

Eliza is not concerned with my dishes. Why should she be?

Eliza is concerned with trains. And flowers. And being outside. And helping take out the trash. And petting stray cats. And asking questions that Geeklet happily answers. She likes his tricycle. She has friends, like Rupert (who owns a Piper Cub painted the colors of a pomelo grapefruit), who help her to travel the world. Eliza believes that you should NEVER leave the house without a scarf, because you never know where you’ll end up–in the desert, perhaps, where a scarf can keep you from heatstroke, or in the Arctic. The scarf is a kind of Earth-bound towel to Eliza.

Eliza likes to bounce up and down just to see her necklace dance. She likes to take long strides and walk on tiptoes, make up songs, blow dandelions, bake popovers. Eliza only left when Rupert called and said he was flying over Del Mar and was ready to pick her up.

I was amazed that a single head scarf and a necklace could so completely change me in Geeklet’s eyes. He looked me straight in the face and called me Eliza, talked to Eliza about “his mom,” and told her stories that he would never tell me because I know them already. Only I don’t, I know my perspective, but not his, and it’s fascinating to hear him tell things straight to my face that he would tell other people but not his mom.

Eliza let me play with him for two solid hours in a way I have difficulty doing at other times, and gave him the stimulation he usually only gets when friends come over or he stays with other people.

The downside, if it really is one, is that I too was exhausted come nap time. We both slept long and well, knowing that our friend Eliza may come back to visit sometime–after she travels to the Amazon, to help the wild cats who are in the canopy get to the understory, and the ones in the understory get to the ground. Because that’s what she does.


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