As I posted recently, today is Tell-a-Fairy-tale day, and I had grand plans of posting an original tale. Life had a different plan, though. It is 9 p.m. here, but I still fully intended to finish up the story about the girl with the legs of a gazelle before going to sleep. At Soëlie's bedtime, something more special (to me) happened.
We usually settle S down with one or two storybooks and then have cuddle time before she drifts off to sleep. Tonight, Julien read the stories while I cleaned the kitchen, and by the time I arrived in her room, the lights were already off and cuddle time was underway.
"I was waiting for you," S exclaimed, giving me repeated, hug-so-tight-she-trembles hugs.
J told me she was on the verge of sleep, and I debated bringing up the fairy tale subject. But the hugs changed my mind. I wanted to give her something in return for her sweetness in addition to cuddles.
"Today is a special story-telling holiday," I said. "Would you like me to tell you one?" In my mind, I was wondering what classic to go with when I had the thought: Make one up! Aren't you a creative writer type?
So, that is what I did. I told a story about a little girl who transformed into a cat, had a misadventure, and then changed back again.*
"Encore! Encore!" Soëlie cried at the end of it, obviously not on sleep's verge any longer.
"It's Papa's turn," I said, my throat dry from storytelling.
Knowing I was working on a fairy tale, he claimed I was unfair, but I assured him I made up that story on the spot.
He answered Soëlie's insistence with a charming tale about a mouse family, which I will relate after I ask his permission (he fell asleep with S :P ). Seriously, I've told him before that I don't know why HE isn't the writer.
When he finished, S begged for more. She asks for more storybooks, too, but not like this. Her tone conveyed how enchanted she was by this telling of tales in the dark, the little details that made the stories about us, but especially about her.
Like the stodgy parents we are, we said that if we told all the stories tonight, there would be none for tomorrow. Finding that a totally unacceptable answer, she began telling tales herself!
Yes, I know I sound like a ga-ga parent, but it was truly darling even if it didn't make total sense. Lots of plot holes, lots of grammar things to iron out, and more subject- and POV switches than you can shake a stick at. :P
She borrowed a few things--only superficial, like mentioning a cat and the mice family--but she totally made up her own story about finding Ahmed, who works in a boutique downstairs, and then about all the noises we hear at night when we are trying to fall asleep. The funniest thing was when she said, "One night, a papa rooster made noise. One night a mama rooster made noise. Then the baby rooster made noise. And then the baby mouse said it was quiet time."
She kept on in franglais for a good ten minutes, pausing sometimes to figure out what she wanted to say but mostly just rattling stuff off.
I think today birthed a new bedtime tradition for us. I can't wait to see what she will come up with tomorrow.
I still plan on posting the gazelle girl story, but I want to do it justice. I don't feel like rushing it. Sorry for those who were looking forward to reading something more than a personal entry.
* For about two weeks now, Soëlie has been insisting she is a cat. Not just any cat, but "a little cat." You can't call her Soëlie, or you get a head shake and an "I'm a cat." You can't call her sweet cat/cheeky monkey/my love/etc., or she will purse her lips, raise her eyebrows, eyes almost closed as she looks down and to the side, then say, "Uhn uh. I'm a cat." People ask her her name and she, yes, you guessed it, answers, "I'm a cat."
She butts her head up against us and purrs; she licks her "paws" and cleans her face with them. Thankfully she hasn't started using the litter box or insisting we feed her in a bowl on the floor. :P The past couple of days, she's widened her repertoire and will deign to be a monkey, a little chien, a crocodile, or a kangaroo, but she always comes back to being a little cat. She assigns J and I animal roles, too; she sometimes lets me be a cat, but J is always something else.