Wednesday, August 26, 2015

the hunt for Anna: a play in one act.

SETTING: Suburban household, approximately naptime o'clock

CHARACTERS: Mama / Toddler

BACKGROUND: The two have spent the morning playing outside in the unseasonably cool and cloudy weather, watching the University of Michigan Marching Band practice (which consisted of watching the newbies screw up simple formations and not even play their instruments for forty minutes, and then catching the drum line doing an impressive routine for three minutes as Mama and Toddler walked back to their car). Both are tired, and Mama is looking forward to naptime, because chocolate. Mama is giving Toddler (who's super into negotiating as of late) a five-minute naptime warning.

MAMA: Okay, Rowan, do you want to go upstairs for nap in two minutes or in five minutes?

TODDLER: No two minutes! Five minutes!

M: Sounds good! Let's sing the "five more minutes" song.

[Okay, I guess this is a musical.]

M & T: [singing] Five more minutes, five more minutes, five more minutes, and then we'll go upstairs!

T: [claps hands and laughs]

M: [pats self on back for executing the five-minute warning] [anticipates chocolate]

T: Chairs are choo-choo train! Rowan sit on chairs. Choo-choo! Choo-choo goes fast, REALLLLLY fast. Rowan sit on choo-choo. Choo-CHOOOOOO! [continues in similar vein for - you guessed it - five more minutes]

M: Okay, Rowan, five more minutes are over! And I hear someone crying - wah, wah - aww, it's Elsa! She wants to come upstairs with you for naptime. Can she come up with you?

T: [delighted] Yeah! Yeah, Elsa upstairs with Rowan!

[M & T gather Elsa doll from a ridiculously massive pile of dolls in the play room and walk upstairs to T's bedroom.]

M: Allll right, Rowan. Let's take out your hair tie -


M: - and, of course, Elsa's hair tie, too. And let's put on your sleep sack -


M: - and, of course, Elsa sleep sack, too. Now let's sing some night-night songs -


M: - and, of course, Elsa can sing with me, too. [M snuggles T in her arms and starts singing] "Mary had a little lamb, little lamb -"


M: [sighs] [knows better than to argue with sleepy toddler] Okay. You sit right here, and I'll go get your Anna doll.

[M rushes down the stairs to the Ridiculous Pile of Dolls and sifts through it. Wait. Where the fuck is the Anna doll?! Crap. She can hear Toddler upstairs starting to dance around and laugh. Mama tears through the house looking for the tiny, four-inch-long doll, hoping to get back upstairs before the pre-naptime sleepy spell is broken and it ends up taking forfreakin'ever for Toddler to fall asleep. Mama frantically calls Daddy's phone number at work, but he doesn't answer. Mama calmly realizes that Daddy probably doesn't know where the doll is actually FACETIMES Daddy in hopes that he'll hear the annoying FaceTime ring and answer her call. No dice. M looks around in despair and grabs a sorry excuse for the Anna doll - a beloved stuffed dog - and bounds upstairs.]

M: [breathless] Well, honey, Anna is hiding! But [falsely enthusiastic] I brought your dog! Now let's go to sleep.

T: [cries] [screams]

M: [sings soothing lullaby and hopes T will get over it]

T: [cries] [screams]

M: [mayyyybe curses Daddy internally, because she's SURE that he knows JUST where that stupid doll is] I'll look for Anna after you go to sleep, okay, sweetie? But you need to close your eyes and go night-night first.


M: You want to go in your crib? Ohhh, because I won't look for Anna until you're asleep in your crib. No, no, let's just go to sle --

T: [cries] [screams]

M: FINE. Here, lay down and close your eyes and go night-night, and I'll look for Anna.

[M flies back down the stairs, fully aware that there's no way T will put herself to sleep, since she hasn't done that at naptime in over a year. M looks everywhere and calls/texts/pages Daddy a few more times. Nothing. She goes back upstairs, steeling herself.]

M: Guess what, Rowie? I talked to Daddy, and he said Anna went to work with him today! She's helping the kids feel happy at work with Daddy! She'll come home later, and you can see her then.

T: [contemplates] Yeah. Anna work Daddy. Rowan saaaad.

M: I know, Rowan is sad and wants Anna. She'll be home later with Daddy. Now let's go night-night, okay?

[Seven thousand renditions of "Mary Had A Little Lamb" later, T is asleep. But Mama has a sinking feeling that Toddler will awaken shortly and remember the Anna Tragedy and start wailing. In the name of Adequate Naptime, Mama combs the house for the Anna doll. She even texts Grandma to see if Anna somehow made it over to her house by mistake. Nope. Sighhh. Mama looks freakin' EVERYWHERE.]

First stop is the Ridiculous Pile of Dolls, including around, under, and inside the ottoman.
Next is the Other Ridiculous Pile of Stuffed Animals, which
Mama unceremoniously dumps out and rifles through.

Maybe in the shoe bucket? We're getting desperate here.

Okay, whenever her little Lego people are missing, she's hidden
them in her little potty. Maybe Toddler put Anna there?

Wouldn't be the first time we've found a beloved doll in the oven. But...

Maybe Anna was cavorting with the dinosaurs? Brushing up on her paleontology?

Stranger things have happened.

[Mama looks around the kitchen after searching the fridge and is hit with a horrible sinking feeling as she glimpses a possible hiding spot.]

NOPE. Not here. But...oh god...it was garbage day
today. Is Anna gone forever?! Is naptime gone forever?!

[Mama gets a text from Daddy: "Did you end up finding her?" "No - maybe she's in your car?" "I don't think so - maybe stuck in the cushions of her rocking chair?" "No..."]

[Mama decides to do one last visual sweep of the house, even though it's OBVIOUSLY pointless. She's already checked every single spot like twelve times. Still...ONE MORE TIME.]



[Maybe Anna is in the new dollhouse?]

NOPE. Already checked there like seven times. Definitely not there.

SEE? Absolutely not in the dollhouse.

Clearly...not...in the...wait a second.


[Mama stealthily tiptoes back upstairs to put Anna in the crib with Toddler, reasoning that Toddler will have a dumb short nap otherwise. Mama avoids the creaky stair, creeps across the squeaky floorboard, gently opens T's bedroom door, and places Anna silently next to T. She then retreats, closes the door ever-so-quietly, and sneaks down the stairs.]

[One short hour passes. Toddler wakes up, and, despite Anna being right there in her damn crib...]

T: [cries] [screams]

M: [cries] [screams]

Aaaaaaand SCENE.

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