Zoe vs. Hide-and-Seek

Hide-and-Seek used to be simple. When Zoe was a baby, I'd put a blanket over her head (or my head) then remove it and say, "Peek-a-boo!" It was a big hit.
 
As she got older she initiated the game. She'd get under the blanket herself or maybe even hide behind a piece of furniture. Still guileless, Zoe would leave a leg exposed, or she'd giggle, giving away her position, but it was still a good time.
 
However, in the past year it's become more complicated, and what was an innocent childhood pastime has become a terrifying expression of her OCD. Now, each night before bed, we must play submit to a game of hide-and-seek, and it has to go the "same exact way." Or else.
 
The rules are too rigid, her manner too draconian, for this to be regular sleep-avoidance. Her stormy relationship with hide-and-seek must go deeper.

The hide-and-seek craze
reaches Carcosa.

The requisite elements are as follows:
 
1. Daddy must hide with her. Only Daddy.
 
2. Mommy can only seek, never actually find. Zoe must reveal herself. 
 
3. She constantly warns Daddy to be quiet, so even if I didn't know exactly where she was (see next), I'd be alerted to her presence.
 
4. She hides in the same place each time. (Behind her open bedroom door.)
 
In order to earn the big reveal I must deliver an Academy Award--worthy performance, moaning piteously how I can't find her, or go in for some jocular threats, e.g., "Oh well, I guess Zoe left. I suppose I'll just read all her stories by myself while I drink her milk."
 
It takes longer and longer for her to come out from behind the door every night. God help you if you "find" her before she's ready. You'll be sorry. Because you'll just have to do the whole thing again. 
 
And I'm already tired from the other hide-and-seek routine we did earlier in the evening.

Peek-a-boo with Margaux always got weird.

In this scenario I still don't get to hide with her. Instead I'm kind of her straight man. The idea is to surprise Daddy when we come home. She's in the stroller but underneath a blanket.
 
This one evolved as well. At first she put the blanket over her head outside our door, so that when The Husband opened it, I could say---in that "let's just humor her, for the love of all that's holy, I need to use the bathroom" tone parents use---"Zoe wasn't at school. I have no idea where she is."
 
"Oh, no," The Husband would respond. "And I have juice ready for her. Guess I'll just drink it myself. Glug, glug, glug."
 
Here Zoe would pull off the blanket revealing (What!) she was that toddler-shaped item beneath it.
 
Gradually we went from blanket-donning outside the door, to doing it in the elevator, to putting a blanket over her head at the end of our block. Currently, she requests the blanket outside the day care and she keeps it over her head the whole twenty-minute walk home.
 
Embarrassing? Sure. But now let me describe the blanket.
 
It's the one we designated for the stroller because it's old and perennially dirty. However, it's dirty in another way.
 
When we received the blanket as a gift at my baby shower it was so fluffy and pink, and in the center, peeking out, was a little bunny head plus two paws, looking as if a little pink bunny was ensconced in all that pinkness and just poking its head and arms out as if to say, "Hi there, new best friend!" Aw!
 
This blanket has undergone some abuse in the past three and a half years.
 
First, we lost one of the bunny's arms to a car door.
 
Then the cat ripped off the bunny's head in some sort of heated dispute the cat still refuses to discuss.
 
So. Let's think about what's left, shall we?
 
A stubby pink appendage with a darker pink end.
 
We call it the uncircumcised blanket.
 
This is what my child has draped over her head. For the whole twenty-minute walk home down a busy avenue as I endure double-takes from passersby. I wish I could hide as well, someplace no one can find me. Until I come out on my own. And I don't intend to.
 

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