Because I can't make this stuff up- here is the story of how my 3 year old was the Christmas hippo in the Nativity play.
At the first rehearsal, Ella was asked which part she would like to play. Her conversation with the director went something like this:
"Do you want to be a lamb?" No.
"A cow?" No.
"Maybe a dog? I think we have a dog costume." No.
"Did you want to be a shepherd or an angel with the bigger kids?" No.
"How about you tell me what you want to be."
She proudly tells the director, "I going to be a buffalo."
Fantastic. My kid is going to be the Christmas buffalo. Pretty sure there weren't buffalo in Bethlehem but whatever, she's three and it will be cute.
Practice commences without too much of a hitch. Well, there's the minor fact that Ella is obsessed with trying to get the baby Jesus doll and change his poopy diaper. Which she does, several times, pretend poop and all. But it's still all good, since this is only practice, and I'm sure things will be okay by Christmas Eve.
Christmas Eve comes. We get to the church. Go to get her in the costume. Like a true 3 year old, she is quite contrary and doesn't want to be a buffalo any more. I ask her if she still wants to be in the play, thinking if she doesn't, that's fine. She is adamant that she needs to be in the play but she is NOT going to be a buffalo. I ask her what she would like to be instead.
After some quick thinking, a few safety pins, and the helpful fact that 3 year olds have wonderful imaginations, I finangled up a hippo costume. She was delighted. Then the director gave her a teddy bear to carry (in hopes of distracting her from changing baby Jesus' poppy diaper during the play) and her joy was complete.
Things started off okay. She went up the church aisle along side the other kids, proudly clutching her teddy bear. I breathed a sigh of relief and thought this year things would go off without a hitch.
Until she went up to the manger, promptly displaced baby Jesus, and put the teddy bear in his place.
Teddy bear settled, she wandered off to go look at the creche. And somehow managed to break the hand off of St. Joseph.
She spent the remainder of the play walking around trying to touch everything and getting the stink eye from the kid playing Mary.
On the bright side, the poinsettias survived this year.