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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Meet Sam, Max and Olivia

What could be better than not having to wear your uniform to school? How about dressing as your favorite book character?

How much do I love this?! Honestly, I wish we'd do this more. As a child, I didn't dress up nearly as much as my children do. The only way that would have been possible was if I'd been a professional actor who worked in flagrant disregard of child labor laws. I only remember dressing up for Halloween, my one ballet recital, and in my mother's nightgowns (when I was supposed to be napping in her room) pretending I was at a cocktail party on the Love Boat.

But dress up our smalls do. They pull together some creative combos. Baby Sister must put on 30 outfits a day. Usually a mildly tarty mix of a swimsuit, fairy wings, gobs of accessories, absolutely ANYTHING belonging to Big Sister, play high heels, and always a purse slung over her tiny shoulder. The boys take the cake for their very detailed costuming of law enforcement professionals. Biggest Brother's newest interest is MI6 (sorry, Ponch and John, we've gone British!).

Without further ado, I present:

Biggest Brother as Sam 
from The Trumpet of the Swan

Understandably, he was not keen on (my good) idea of bringing the stuffed swan to school.  Perhaps it seemed a little teddy bearish. But he agreed to have it peek out of his "rucksack" so it didn't look like (jeans and t-shirt and all) that he'd opted out of all the fun. We really love this book, read it together in La Grange, and give it as a gift all the time. I first heard it when my 6th grade (I think) teacher read it to my class in Virginia. One of my new friends (a lovely Irish mother of 6) asked me about the book at the school gate. Lucky her! I had 2 copies in the sideboard (I KNOW. I'm so grown up!) waiting to be given out!

Big Brother as Max 
from Where the Wild Things Are

One of my best and oldest (in terms of duration of our friendship, not her age!) friends gave this book to us when one or both of the boys were little. The daughter of a retired kindergarten teacher turned school librarian and a huge proponent of literacy herself, she was outraged that I'd not read the book until then. Now I can see why! It is a favorite and was the subject of a play the kids staged in house in La Grange. I still have their set decorations because it is one of my fondest memories.

Big Sister as Olivia

You should know she went to school in her uniform. Apparently in protest. Not quite sure what she's protesting these days, but I'm beginning to fear her teens. She happily wore the pig ears to breakfast (and hasn't taken them off all afternoon) but moodily went to school in her uniform after refusing to wear the costume she'd chosen. Mother's intuition found me packing it up for her and without her knowing, I gave it to the Reception teacher at drop off. Big Sister change changed seconds after I walked away and much to her brothers' delight, she was Olivia for their morning school assembly. Apparently we weren't the only ones in a backstage drama as similar issues were reported at the playground this afternoon and even in the Times today. Big Sister makes a particularly adorable, sassy Olivia. They have a bit in common. Bringing this whole conversation full circle, Big Sister is wearing the very tutu I wore in my once-ever ballet recital, circa 1976. Thanks, Mother for saving it and carting it around in your countless moves!  It has held up pretty well.

So much of this makes me happy. Thanks to those who gave us great suggestions for this adventure. We'll save the extra ideas for next year. Maybe then we can coordinate all 4 costumes. (A mother can dream, right?!)  Hats (and pig ears!) off to the many people in our lives who have flooded our home with books through the years. We've downsized our possessions with every move, but it is rare that we part with a book. I am a master of book repair, hoping that we'll have these treasures forever and the kids will read them to their children. And why not. The smalls read lots of books that belonged to the Mister and me when we were little.

Our school library in La Grange had a policy that the students could check out books as often as they liked, which meant Biggest Brother was there most every day, and in the process we fell in love with our school librarian. She was kind to us when (on more than one occassion) I offered cash (and baked goods) to repair or replace books that had been exhuberantly enjoyed by Biggest Brother's tiniest sibling(s).

Sam, Max, Olivia and their stage hands and cheerleaders send their love and best wishes from London!  Happy World Book Day and even more, happy reading.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks! All of us in the library fell in love with your family as well. Bribes were really not necessary, but we were smart enough not to tell you that ;-) I love this blog and love seeing the four smalls get so-o-o big!