"We're going to story time," I replied. "It's Emily's story time. It's literally the only thing that Emily has just for her. Andy has school and baseball. You have preschool and trips to the Dollar Store. All Emily has is a lousy half hour story time once a week. That's it! That's all she has."
A lie, of course, since Emily has everything. Emily's world, although filled with activities primarily for her brothers, is rich in secondary events that she finds just as thrilling, if not more so. She loves waiting at the bus stop! She relishes in banging her feet on the bleachers at baseball games. She ADORES trying to rip off the preschool art hanging in the common area outside Alex's class. I often look at Emily and think, "Well, this one's got it pretty good." I yell at Andy for grumbling through his homework, unfairly barking at him, "These math problems are your JOB. If Daddy complained this much while doing HIS work, he would be FIRED and we'd be HOMELESS but we all wouldn't fit in the BOX so you'd probably have to sleep on a CURB." I ignore Alex's babbling sometimes completely, every once in a while murmuring a, "That's right, Alex," whenever I feel like he's waiting for a reply. But Emily? She doesn't get yelled at. She captures all of our complete attention whenever she wants it. And if I hear her start to whine, I call out, "Just give her what she wants!"
"But she wants my lollipop!" Alex might complain back.
"It's hers now, Alex! Hand it over. Andy, give her that dollar in your pocket. NOW!"
|Emily taking the maraca seriously|
at story time.
And Emily knows that she's part of our world and that she deserves just as much as the boys seem to get. She is part of the team, and if I pour a little ranch onto Andy's chicken nugget plate, Emily is quick to yell out, "HEY!" and point where she wants HER ranch. The other night, I gave Emily a bath while Chris took the boys out to the front yard to play. While getting dressed in her bedroom, she heard their voices float up into her window. She ran over to it, looked out, and saw them. Immediately, her little feet started stamping, her finger pointed, and she looked at me, betrayed. "HEY! Outside! Out-side! Out-SIDE!" We dressed as quickly as possible and I set her loose through the garage door, where she ran out into sunshine and fun and brothers yelling, "YAY!"
Don't tell Alex that I've lied to him, that story time isn't the only thing that Emily has. It's one of the countless things, but it's fun and free and part of the toddler landscape. Plus they have a felt board.