Friday, September 7, 2007

"Once upon a time . . . "

According to Caroline, this is all you have to say to tell a story. If, when she asks for one, you reply that you can't think of one right now, she will say, "It's easy. You just say 'once upon a time' . . ." and she finishes the phrase with her eyes big and her voice up and expectant, as if you will now complete her sentence with the story that has just magically formed in your mind at the mention of those words.

It's that easy--to her. And really it isn't that hard, if you just take the time to do it.

Jeff told her a short story the other night in bed and I got some cute pictures. I was about to walk into the room and then stopped when I saw them lying there talking together and, of course, went to get the camera. She never even looked up when I snapped the pictures--that's how into it she was.

After Jeff's story was over she asked if I would tell one. My mind was blank at first but then I remembered one of my favorites:

"Once upon a time there was a little girl named Carrie (she grinned). And when Carrie was just a little tiny thing, her Grama Jan . . . et (added that in keeping with the whole altering the names thing) came to visit her and taught her a trick. She would say, 'How big is Carrie?' and Carrie would raise her little arms up above her head as Grama said 'soooo big.' Carrie was very good at this trick.

One day, when Carrie was at her Aunt Adeline's and Aunt . . . Elizabeth's (no "L" name was coming to me so I went with the real name, which doesn't get used as often) house, they all decided to play hide-and-seek with their friend Kelly. Adeline and Kelly ran to hide and took Carrie with them while Elizabeth counted.

'Ready or not, here I come!' Elizabeth called. She was walking around everywhere trying to find the girls but it was taking a long time. And so she thought of a trick. She yelled out, 'How big is Carrie?" really loudly--and right away Carrie stood up and answered 'sooo big!'

(We paused to laugh together.)

So Lib--Elizabeth knew right away where they were and ran to catch them all. The end."

She loved it. Of course she did--it was about her.

That story is a favorite of mine for many reasons. One, it recalls that time when Caroline would do those little things and seemed so much smaller. Two, I'm amused at Libby's cleverness in throwing out this particular bait to lure Caroline out of the hiding place and expose the older girls (who were really the ones playing the game anyway).

Addy told me later that she was trying so hard to get Caroline to sit really still and quiet . . . but it was no use when Libby gave the call. The girls came into my parents' house grinning with their sides of the story--Libby so proud of herself for thinking up the idea and Addy, as always, tickled with the inner workings of her toddler neice's mind when facing a dilemma--do I crouch quietly like Addy says or jump up and show Libby how big I am? What's a little one-and-a-half-year-old to do?


So whose story is next?? :)


  1. Amber, I love your (Caroline's) blog! How old is she now?


  2. Jeff, I couldn't help but notice the shirt. Thanks for loving Lindsey and remembering her.

    Laura and family

  3. I had to smile when I read this one. It reminds me of this summer when Caroline begged for stories. My favorite memory is over her disgusted look when Uncle Josh told her about Beeping Sleuty.