Monkey, sensitive soul that he is, had gone a few bouts with bad dreams and night fears by this age, so while I had been happy that Mabel so far seemed immune, I hadn't counted my chickens. I think it's a maturity thing, really, to start distinguishing fact from fiction and have an imagination wide enough to encompass things you didn't even want to imagine. It's not surprising when they spend half the day in imaginary play - and you only have to give Mabel any two items - forks, crayons, shoes - to find her turning them into a mother and baby and voicing their dialogue - that when they go to bed it's sometimes hard to turn it off.
I could sort of see what she meant about the dollhouse: it's a simple wooden one with a pitched roof, and the big windows on either side look, in the half-light, like huge eyes in a big head. I moved it downstairs today. But last night I just took her to our bedroom rather than try to convince her that the giants only wanted ice-cream and would happily take directions to Target and go away again. There, she finally nursed back to sleep and took up most of B's side of the bed. Sorry, honey.
This morning I'd sort of forgotten about the night's shenanigans, and I sent Mabel off to play with friends while I helped get the nursery school ready for tomorrow's meet-your-teacher sessions; because I am, as we must remember, the housekeeping chair this year. So far I've mostly shown up, but I'm not sure I've been of much practical use beyond reminding the other parents to sign in. I suppose I do know a little better than the new parents where a few things are kept, but so far mostly I've shown a startling lack of initiative.
Mabel headed off to the giant sandbox (aka volleyball court) happily enough in the caravan of laden strollers, strewing goldfish crackers as they went, but a mere hour later I had a call to say that she was very sad and perhaps should come back to me. As I brought her back inside I asked, "Did you have fun with your friends?"
"I don't like my friends." A wail of despair.
"Oh. That's a pity, since they're all going to be in your class next week."
I think it was just the fatigue talking. I took her home early and she was napping by 12.45. Another hour or so on the sofa (she watched Mr Rogers, I read my book, she nursed; we were both content) and she was back to her usual happy self, excited about going to nursery school and all the snacks she might eat there.
Then again, it's possible that she too has a few start-of-school nerves that are manifesting themselves one way or another. When Mabel was on the way, Monkey had dreams about giants too. My children, with their literal metaphors.