It has been interesting over the last few days watching Alessia go through different stages of grieving. Saturday night she was in loud angry denial. By the time she fell asleep she was red-eyed. By Sunday the tears had passed. Throughout the day she said "I need my dolly" in a very matter-of-fact sort of way. Once she said very cheerily "we'll find dolly in a second." We responded gently with "dolly's lost, baby" or "dolly's gone, beautiful, we tried to find her, but she's gone." Yesterday morning she looked at me sadly and stated "I losed my dolly." "Yes, baby," I told her, "we lost your dolly." Later in the afternoon she put her head on my shoulder and said "I miss dolly." "I miss dolly too, Alessia," I replied. Throughout the day she carried around Trudi, but she didn't play with her the way she had always played with dolly.
Then we visited the neighbors. We sat in the living room and a pile of big-breasted barbies was plopped down in front of her. I could see her contemplating these "dollies" (as she tentatively called them at one point), and I decided that she would have the new dolly hiding in the upstairs closet before bedtime. I wasn't going to let her go from a sweet little baby doll to pointy-toed, princess-themed barbies at the age of two and a half.
So before dinner, I talked to her about different versions of the same song and different copies of the same book and I gave her this new version of dolly. She smiled at it. "It isn't dolly," she affirmed. "No, it isn't dolly, but it's like another version of dolly," I explained again. "She's yours, if you want her." She noted the differences, being too young to remember that dolly looked like this new dolly once. Adam tried to talk her into a name, but Alessia seems to have settled on "new dolly," at least for now. She protested whenever Adam called her "dolly," but at one point she called her dolly as well. Before long she was showing new dolly things in books and her empty bowl at the end of dinner. "New dolly likes puzzles" she explained. This morning we built new dolly her first lego house.
The only danger in all this is that she comes to believe all things can be replaced. Last night she asked about a new Trudi. We explained that there are no other Trudis and no more new dollies after this one. Eventually Alessia may have to say goodbye to her dolly for real, although I know teenagers who still have their's safely tucked away. For now, I'm just glad Alessia has dolly back again.