After a while, the dialogue of her story made its way through to me. She sounded as if she was playing with several small dolls, making them be a family, wheedling and scolding and whining and being polite and being impolite as families do. I glanced down to see which dolls she was using for these lifelike people.
She was playing with Tatiana, the soft doll I bought for Dash when I was pregnant with Mabel:
Then I looked more closely at Mabel's hands as she voiced the Mommy, the Daddy, the sister and the brother. The two big pink ribbons on Tatiana's hat are Mommy and Daddy, the two little ones holding up her tiny topknot are brother and sister. They danced around, wiggled in her fingers as they talked to each other, and fell perilously into the decorative crevices of the coffee table when they didn't heed their parents' warnings.
I really don't know why we have shelves full of toys, when one child plays with nothing but lightsabers and the other can happily put on an elaborate production given just four small pieces of ribbon.