narrative · slice of life · speech

Panera Paper Napkin Narrative

The Story of Our Morning

I relish slow mornings. However, we’re usually out the door within 75 minutes of Isabelle waking up in the mornings, which means I have to get up at least an hour before she does. If I’m not ready-to-go before she rises, then I have to give up my morning stretches, my morning makeup, or my “Morning Joe.” None of these leaves me feeling or looking good!

Monday mornings begin with music therapy. Then we have two hours “off” before she has speech therapy. But her music therapist called me yesterday afternoon (Bless her heart for that early phone call!) since she was under the weather. Therefore, I knew we’d have a slow start to our day.

I always try to do something special with Isabelle after her clinical speech therapy appointment on Mondays since that’s her hardest speech therapy session each week.

“Do you want to go for pizza after we see Marie?” I asked as we drove into the speech therapy parking lot.

“No, Panera!”

“Really? Panera?” I said. What three year-old doesn’t want pizza?!!?

“Yeah! Bagel!”

My stomach flip-flopped. As a New Yorker, I have a true appreciation for good bagels. In my opinion, Panera’s bagels are just bread with a hole in the middle. I don’t understand what Isabelle’s obsession with them is, but I know she loves them (despite the fact she has had Murray’s Bagels from Chelsea).

“Okay, if you do your work at Marie’s, then we’ll go to Panera for a bagel.”

* * * * *

Once the food came to our table, Isabelle decided she wanted to sit on the same side of the bench as me. In an effort to make some small talk, I decided to talk about our relaxing morning. I took out a pen from my purse and began asking her “What did we do first/second/third/etc.?” today. She came up with all of the items herself. I drew out each one and wrote a sentence about it on a napkin. Then, we practiced telling the story. After practicing three times, I secretly recorded her under the table:

Check out the other slice of life stories at
Check out the other slice of life stories at

8 thoughts on “Panera Paper Napkin Narrative

  1. I love it! I am totally going to have to start secretly recording L under the table. She actually full-on rolled her eyes at me today when I tried to record her today! Isabelle is such a great storyteller– and she did a great job ‘reading’ her story back to you!

    1. Yes, record her under the table, Beth! It works like a charm. 🙂

      BTW: She retold a story across her fingers today using words like first, next, then. I almost passed out. I was completely kvelling!

      1. BTW: When I say story, I mean she retold the big things that happened to her during our day today. Not exactly a small moment, but retelling across her fingers is what amazed me.

  2. This is so cute – her little voice is just adorable!
    I prefer getting up before my kids, too. It’s so much easier when I can be up, ready, and full of caffeine before they wake up!

  3. I love that you are integrating literacy in such authentic ways with your little one! Also, thanks for sharing the sound byte. She’s pretty stinkin’ cute!

  4. That’s great! Our poor kids, always having to do things for us. Claire sat down and “read” a book to herself today and I nearly passed out. She stopped as soon as I got the camera going. I’m going to try your sneaky recording method!

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