The other day, Bud was setting up a live-action version of the Reader Rabbit Toddler computer game he's recently rediscovered. He'd already created the Bubble Castle, Follow-Me Theater, and the Musical Meadow, and he was searching through the house with an elephant in his arms.
"I need a Cousin Basket," he said.
"A Cousin Basket?" I asked. "What's that?"
"A Cousin Basket," he explained. "For the animals."
I scrolled through the Reader Rabbit game in my mind: Rainbow Rock... Pop and Play Animals... Sky Shapers... Baby Basket Bingo.
I've mentioned before that Bud is not a fan of babies. They're not as bad as thunderstorms or dogs, of course, but they certainly run a not-too-distant third. They're loud. They're unpredictable. They move suddenly and quickly, and they are best avoided at all cost.
Except that Bud has a one-year-old cousin. She is a loud, unpredictable, sudden-moving little thing, but she's adorable - and Bud knows it. She adores Bud, too, and he enjoys the admiration, so, against all his better judgment, he just can't help but like her.
Therein lies the conflict.
But Bud is a problem-solver, and problem-solve he has. He has decided that though he still doesn't like babies, he does like cousins. And when the two come into conflict, cousins trump babies every time. So, he's happy to play a modified version of the Reader Rabbit game - and I think we can all agree that Cousin Basket Bingo is infinitely more palatable than Baby Basket Bingo could ever be.
Bud's willing to expand his cousin horizon even further. We have good friends we have not seen much over the past two years, because they have two very small children. But, lately, Bud has been coming up with excuses to drop by their house - he wants to show them his paper bag mask; he wants to show them a dance he made up. And he is clear with his requests: he would like to show these things to our friends and their cousins.
It's very good news, really, because now I can let my brother and his wife know that they're free to introduce another new cousin into the family. Just as long as they don't go and have a baby.