Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve loved bears. My Dad sang “Teddy Bears Picnic” to me throughout my childhood. To this day, if you give me a nonfiction text about bears and I devour it. Show me a fiction book with bears as characters and I’ll most likely love it. Tell me a story about bears and I’m all ears. (Though I wasn’t so excited when I heard that the neighborhood bear showed up on my next-door neighbor’s patio this past summer, but that’s another story.)
I feel like I’m coming down with the flu (I got my flu shot in November, but apparently that doesn’t matter!) that seems to be going around our country. However, my husband had to go into work for a couple hours this morning, therefore I had to take care of Isabelle. Thankfully, she slept ’til 8:00 a.m. However, I still had to get her dressed, feed her breakfast, and entertain her despite the way I felt.
After breakfast we settled into her play room. After we played with three of her balls and her blocks, we turned our attention to her books. I pulled out Old Bear and His Cub by Olivier Dunrea since I think the story is incredibly cute. The stubbornness of both the little cub and the old bear remind me of the way a toddler and a grandparent often act. I needed a chuckle and she needed a story. Therefore the book worked for both of us. Once I was finished reading Old Bear and His Cub aloud she wanted another book. I needed to find a book that comforted me since I felt sick. Therefore, I reached for another bear book I bought right before Isabelle was born. When You Meet a Bear on Broadway by Amy Hest was the book I choose to read aloud next. Isabelle beside me, looking at the pictures while I read aloud (but also playing with her blocks). When I finished When You Meet a Bear on Broadway I got an idea: a tea part with her bears and her bear books!
Achy and tired, I questioned myself. Did I really have the energy to pull this thing off? Yes. Yes, I did. I could do it. I announced my idea to Isabelle. “Would you like to have a tea party with Allie and Schlepp?”
“(Ye)sss!” she replied with a big smile.
“Can we read teddy bear books too?” I asked.
“Okay, Mommy’s going to go upstairs and get ready. You stay here and play,” I told her.
I went over to her play kitchen and gathered up tea cups, the tea pot, and play food. Next I walked around the house to all of the places where she has books and found every bear book I could find. I put everything together and carried it up to her bedroom where her two favorite bears hang out. I removed them from her crib and put them on the floor. I set out all of the books, her bears, and the tea party supplies. Then, I went back downtstairs and retrieved Isabelle.
“Ready! Allie and Schlepp are waiting to start our tea party. They have lots of bear books to read with you. And, they said they’re ready for some snacks. Are you ready to go upstairs?”
“(Ye)sss!” she said, nodding her whole body enthusiastically.
We walked upstairs, hand-in-hand, and headed into her bedroom for our tea party with the teddy bears.
Once we got into her bedroom, she went right to the play food. Therefore, I put on my best bear voices and pulled the bears closer to me.
“I’d like some tea please,” said Allie. Isabelle poured some tea into the cup and served her.
“Me too!” said Schlepp. She gave him a cup too.
This continued with the food too.
Finally, after everyone had some play food and faux tea, we delved into the books. We read Bizzy Bear: Fun on the Farm by Benji Davies and Bears in Beds by Shirley Parenteau. While Isabelle was sitting in my lap reading Bears on Chairs, also by Parenteau, my husband came home (to save me and my sick self!). He joined us for the end of the story and for some tea and faux blueberries. After about two minutes of his presence, Isabelle decided she was done with the tea party.
I’d say we partied with the bears for 15 minutes. I’d say that’s pretty successful for pretend play with a two year-old. I’m hoping to feel better by tomorrow, but chances are I won’t. 😦 Therefore, another teddy bear story time and tea time might be in the cards.