V had been talking about cats most of the evening. When it came time to read before bed, he kept saying "I wanna read a book about Bowis kitty", even as I offered him other choices ("The Tale of Peter Rabbit", which we also read, and a few other books whose titles escape me right now). After telling him "But honey, there are no books about our cats.", it occurred to me that strictly speaking, it wasn't true. So it was that we read the book together. V was not very impressed with it, and asked the barest of all basic questions ("But why doesn't he like the kitten?", "Why is she sad?"). G heard us read as she came in to kiss her brother goodnight.*
"What's that?" she asked.
"Oh, it's this book I had to make for school"
"Not just any cats. It's about Boris and Gracie. I thought Vincent might like to read it."
As soon as I put the book down, G snatched it, and ran off to her room. I finished up reading with V (who will allow nothing less than three books being read before begrudgingly allowing the light to go off), and moved on to reading with G. I noticed a few months back that she had become bored with simpler chapter books, so we've been reading longish books, and a few simple chapter books, like the Clementine series, Mr. Popper's Penguins, and the Ramona Quimby series. The latter is definitely a favorite thus far. So I picked up the one we were currently reading (Ramona The Brave), and reminded her of where we left off before starting off.
"Mama, I wanna read a different book first."
"Not Ramona first?"
"No, because sometimes the chapters are long, and we don't have time to read something else."
"Okay. What do you wanna read first?"
She was holding the makeshift Kitty book. "Oh, that one, huh?", I go, and motion for her to hand it over. I read it while she looks on, until midway through, when she starts peppering me with questions.
"Okay. Where do babies come from?"
"From a mommy's belly. Remember how my belly got big and fat before Vincent was born?"
"Well, before that, you grew in my belly. You started out this tiny [*holds finger apart one millimeter*] and then you were as big as your doll [*points to 18 inch baby doll*]"
"So I'm not in the book?"
"No. But you know, maybe we should write a follow up book. We could call it 'When the Baby Came To Live with Us'."
I thought that would end there, but it didn't. This morning I read an email from her teacher. She mentioned that G had been busy working on a story "about an evil kitty". I thought nothing of it, because it wouldn't be the first time she's made up elaborate stories that make little sense to anyone else but her. While we were reading tonight, my 5 year old shyly showed me a bundle of drawings held together by two clothespins.
"I made a book!"
"You did? What about?"
"It's about me and the cats"
"Oh, I see. Should we read it?"
"You gotta help me though. I don't really know what's going on. It's your book."
"This is me and the cats."
"Why does Boris have six legs?"
"Is he running?"
"Yes, he's running away from me. And I'm a baby."
"Yes. And here I am in my crib. And there's you, mommy?"
"Where are the cats?"
"They're hiding in the closet."**
"Are they scared?"
"And what's this?"
"We're in the car. We're going to the doctor."
"Oh, in this one, you're in bed."
"Maybe we can finish this book later?"
"Can we finish it tomorrow?"
"But with words written down and everything?"
"Okay. I can write down the words for you!"
... And just like that, I talked myself into another book. :P
* It's a cute thing she started doing, after so many years of pretty much being indifferent or outright considering him a pest.
** Back when my daughter was scared of cats, she constantly heard the story of how Gracie hid in our linen closet the first week she was home, to drive home the point that she couldn't possibly be scared of a creature who was that scared of a baby.