Story time in our family has always been anticipated with glee. We love delving into books with their accompanying pictures, but our best stories are the ones that arise spontaneously. My next-to-littlest one, Serena, has borne the benefit of my Waldorf learning and has endured many a humble attempt at storytelling. With practice, I have improved and now look for story ideas in everyday life. She is 5, and although she can easily get caught in a fairy tale, and is even nourished by these stories, she still enjoys the stories of real life.
One of the areas of real life she enjoys hearing the most are stories of our pets. I had pets and livestock growing up and have just about exhausted their histories. I thought, why not tell the stories of the pets we have now?
Take Moonlight, for instance. Moonlight's story begins with his brothers, who were ready for adoption on September 11, 2001, my oldest daughter's 10th birthday. She had heard the events of the day at school, yet I am not sure how much she or her 7-year-old sister understood. I went into protective mother mode and wanted to keep my daughter's 10th birthday as normal and memorable as possible. We drove out to the country and she and her sister picked out two little black kittens. The rest of the evening was spent making their beds, litterboxes, feeding, etc. while the rest of the world was numb with mourning.
The little black kitties turned out to be quite mischievous. I lived in an apartment at the time, and before those kittens were a year old my landlord had called me to tell me he had received complaints about my black kitties. In fact, they had "attacked" a dog. Not too long afterward, Black kitty#1 went disappearing.
So, we had to replace him, lest one of the girls be left kitten-less. We traveled out to the same country house, same kitty mama, and this time picked up 2 tabbies: one for us, one for my "friend" Chance, who really was just a friend at the time. We brought little Moonlight home and proceeded to watch his brother (we are pretty sure they were half-brothers, but we declined the paternity test) hiss and spit and otherwise treat him like an outcast.
But exactly four days later, a magical things happened. I looked on my bed and saw two kitties. One larger black kitty was curled with his chin upside down, and Moonlight was "nursing". Yes, his brother allowed this.
He continued to allow it for some time. We moved, when Chance became more than a friend and we rented a house together. Those kitties were very close, although I think Moonlight needed his brother more than vice-versa. One sad day, our black kitty came up missing as well. I was heartsick for days, because I intuited he wouldn't come back and he didn't. He was a good cat.
Moonlight is a good cat too. He has endured so much in the name of love. He has allowed my toddler to lay on him and roll her belly across his body, with only one little twitch of his tail. He has been carried around like a rag doll and has endured the indignities of being dressed up and collared and walked like a dog. All he asks in return is a night out, a warm patch of sunlight, and food in the morning. If you don't feed him soon enough, he nibbles your toes.
Raccoon cat is another story....
So, pet stories....I could see this being a good book making project for an older child, and a good book making project for a parent of a younger child (to give to the child, of course). It could inspire lots of conversations and drawings.