“I’m a kangaroo. Will you buy me?” said my five-year-old daughter as I entered her room and spotted her sitting up on her bed. She was in the process of folding her clothes. I suppose it helped to escape and become a stuffed animal kangaroo. I joined in. “Sure. I’ll buy you. How much do you cost?” I asked her in Romanian. She understands everything I say in Romanian, but answers me in English. “How much money do you have?” “$100.” “I cost more than that…”
I had a lot of fun with this dialogue. It continued for a few minutes. Finally, she could not decide on a price for herself. Out of the blue, she goes, “Do you got a kid or something?” “Yes,” I said, stifling another laughter. She said, “I think I’ve seen him in this store. He’s got brown hair and looks about this tall, right?”
My mind was spinning. I could see a picture book about this in the making. Trying hard to be in the moment, be here for her, to continue with her role-playing…
She brought me back to reality by giving me a few imaginary quarters, the extra money I needed in order to purchase her. I pretended to put the money in a place she indicated and I said, “Now, will you come with me?” She jumped out of bed with her hands cupped in front of her chest. Then she jumped some more on her way to the living room, like a kangaroo.
All this happened because, for the second time, we borrowed this book from the library in Pigeon Forge, which comes with a stuffed animal mama kangaroo and her baby sewn into her pouch. What’s remarkable is that my daughter remembered this baby was sewn into the pouch. We have not visited the Pigeon Forge Library in a long, long time. Our Gatlinburg library provides us with any kinds of books we need and they have story time, too. It’s hard to get motivated to face the tourist traffic between Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, so we prefer to stay close to home.
But when we visited for Mr. Lincoln’s presentation, I could not keep them from borrowing books. She spotted this kangaroo kit (book and stuffed animal), remembered it, and wanted it home again. From there, she made up a story, we role-played, she was using words to tell me the next steps… This is what they do in language arts at school, folks. This is why LEGO Education sells $250 sets called “Story Starters.” All the money in the world is not necessary for a solid education. The library and a parent who is available emotionally is all it takes.