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Monday, August 28, 2006

Baby-sitting the Little Artist

The Little Artist sometimes switches roles. Over the weekend she was into "pretending," so she used a high, squeaky voice to speak the lines of her characters. Mostly, she was a kitty, but she also acted out scenarious with various Little People friends and puppets. At one point we had about thirty tiny figures of trolls, princesses and what-not spread around the floor. She brought out her box of valentines from the past couple of years. My job was to decide who wanted each valentine. I squeaked along with her, making the figures jump up and down to beg for a valentine. Once in awhile I picked the wrong character for a certain valentine and was told firmly that Blueberry (or whoever) couldn't have that one. I picked someone else, but I never figured out what determined her choices.

Friday night I promised her a pajama party with popcorn before bedtime We got into our jammies and I popped the corn. We sat on the floor next to the coffee table in the family room. I intentionally left the TV off. We giggled and talked for awhile, then she said, "This is a very quiet party." We agreed that it was nice to have a party where you could talk to each other.

It's amazing what an interesting conversation you can have with a three-and-a-half-year-old without the distraction of television. As a general rule she doesn't watch much TV. She loves books more than anything. The promise of a trip to the library or a new book from the bookstore is the highlight of her day. I showed up on Thursday night with Babar and the Wully Wully and a collection of Curious George stories. Before the weekend was over, I had read Babar three times and all nine or ten of the Curious George stories. She snuggles under my arm and sits very still most of the time, until the action picks up in a story. Then, she'll pop up and cover her mouth or eyes or throw her arms up in response to the story. Sometimes she whispers encouragement to the characters or repeats a phrase after I read it. When she was younger, I sometimes abbreviated stories. I can't get away with that any more. After one or two readings, she knows what comes next and corrects me if I change a single thing.

We had a delightful weekend together, but I have to admit that the squeaky kitty voice nearly drove me up a wall. Thank heavens she doesn't use it in normal conversation!

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Blogger Martha Marshall said...

Nita, tell the Little Artist that I have a cat named Blueberry!


7:26 PM  
Blogger Nita said...

I'll tell her--and I'm sure she'll find just the right valentine for your Blueberry!

7:38 PM  

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