Friday, November 9, 2012

Blarz, said the aliens....

ViMae came to me with four large sheets of craft paper, each folded not-quite-in-half at an angle. She asked me to fasten them together (we decided on staples) to make a book. Next she brought the felt markers and told me she was ready to write a story. She needed me to do the hand-writing. This is what she dictated:

Vi's Best Jewelry Book...and...

The Princess Locked in the Tower

by ViolaMae

Once upon a time, there was a princess. Her name was Golden Rose. She was afraid of stormtroopers. They tried to attack and catch her.

Because she was afraid, Golden Rose locked herself in the tower.
She didn't like being in the tower, so she went to see Princess Leia. She thought Leia had a bow and arrow, but she didn't. Princess Golden Rose put on some jewelry to disguise herself as Smaug. The stormtroopers didn't know she was Rose. She went into the woods and ate some zazzberries.
“Blarz.” said some aliens from up above. They put handcuffs on her. But when she had gone to see Leia, Leia had given her a blaster. So she blasted the handcuffs apart.

She called in the warriors, including Princess Leia, to help her fight off the aliens.
Vi's illustration: Rose and Sabrine
Princess Golden Rose saw an alien getting ready to shoot a bomb. "Duck!" she yelled. "Where?" asked her favorite giraffe, Sabrine, looking around. Golden Rose ducked out of the way, but Sabrine got shot right in the neck. He ran a little and then just fell over, and died. ["Isn't that sad, Mom?" Vi asked her mother when they read it together. "That's the sad part."]

She ran over and put a leash on him and pulled him, but he stayed on the ground. Golden Rose and Leia chased the aliens away. "Blarz!" said the aliens as they ran.
The end.

As her parents have noted, ViMae's story has it all: a plot with a climax in the middle, character development, humor, and sadness. It incorporates elements of Star Wars (Leia and the stormtroopers), the Hobbit (Smaug the gold-encrusted dragon), our Dragonvale game (zazzberries are dragon food), and other bits.

Its humor and sadness both come from an old birthday-card visual joke Peter and I have shared with the kids. (Animals are riding in a car, heading toward a tunnel with a low overhead…. The elephant warns, “Duck!” but the giraffe, misunderstanding, stretches his neck upward and asks, “Where?”) The four of us share this running gag often, and the kids seem pleased that it's a kind of "inside humor."    

ViMae took all those elements and made up her own princess story…and happily, this princess is proactive. Golden Rose locked herself in the tower for protection, disguised herself to hide from the stormtroopers, went to Leia for a weapon, and together with Leia dispatched the aliens. That’s a princess story I can support! 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

On being a real ballerina

Pre-class instructions from Miss Ann
ViMae has been wearing tutus and wanting to be a ballerina for at least half of her four-and-a-half years.

Today she started a weekly dance class that will include 30 minutes of ballet and 10 minutes of tap. And how lucky am I? The best time for her to take the class is Tuesday mornings, so I get to take her there. Happy Grandma!

Ballet warmup
I took pictures so Mom and Dad could share in the big day. The photos aren't great, because adults have to stay out of the studio so kids will focus on the teacher.

ViMae did great at paying attention and following instructions (a couple of younger girls had trouble with that). Most important, she had fun and she felt comfortable with the group.

Tap lessons..."heel, heel, step..."
I took ballet and tap lessons for two or three years, starting when I was five. I liked it, but I never had any vision of what it was all about.

ViMae, on the other hand, knows exactly what it's about. When we got home, she kicked her legs in the air and exulted: "Now I'm a real ballerina!"


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