Sunday, February 21, 2010

Show- And Not Tell

We are visiting my parents in Indy on a whirlwind tour and Fran and Claudia are sharing a room. Claude is tucked in a pack and play and Fran is in one of the twin beds. I am sleeping across the hall all stretched out.

This morning I was greeted by a rustling doorknob and four pitter-patters: one pair of socked feet and one pair of footie zip-zip jammies. At 7:30. (I had been up all hours of the night due to my caffeine-to-stay-awake-while-driving-to-Indy strategy.) I admit, I was pretty bleary. No one wanted to snuggle. They wanted to play and eat miniature pancakes and Lucky Charms. (Curses to the toys and junk food with which the old ones stock the house!) We pitter-pattered downstairs.

Later in the morning, Grandma came down followed much later by Grandpa. Cereal. Old-school Fisher Price. The doll highchair (with Claudia sitting in it). Lots and lots of coffee. Then, Mom and I made a run to O'Malia's food Market with the kids. When we pulled into the parking lot, it finally occurred to me: how did Claudia get out of bed?

"Fran," I said, "How did Claudia get out of her bed this morning? Did she climb out of her pack and play?"

"No," he said, his eyes growing wide. "She was standing up and talking in her bed so I went over to her." He started acting this out as best he could strapped in his carseat. "I pulled her up by her arms and then I reached over and I grabbed her and held her body and pulled her up and over the pack and play. And then I put her down and we came into Mommy's room."

I looked at him in amazement at his description. Most mothers would just find the commentary and accompanying actions delightful, but I was practically bursting with pride at how he slowed down an important action. Show- and not tell. He didn't just say "I got Claudia out of her bed," he showed me with his words and actions, like a story.

I was pretty bleary until the show-not tell description. Then I felt wide awake!

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