read aloud · slice of life

What counts as real?

Once Isabelle heard about Lancaster Cupcake’s story time + cupcake decorating, she demanded (Yes, demanded.) I take her there with Ari the next time she had a day off from school. Seeing as today is Presidents’ Day, I decided this would be the perfect time to take them there together.

Today’s book was Pig the Pug by Aaron Blabey. Emily, the woman reading the book aloud, began story time by engaging the kids with a few questions, one of which was “Who has a dog?”

That’s when Ari, who was sitting right in front of her, shot his hand up and exclaimed, “I do!”

I snorted, shook my head, and turned to the woman next to me and said — flatly, “No he doesn’t.”

The woman next to me and the woman next to her chuckled. One of them said, “He sounds pretty convinced that he has a dog.”

“I think he wishes he had a dog. He does have some stuffed puppies though…”

Let’s be honest: A Puppy, I Puppy, and Patchy ARE real to Ari. I suppose, then, that Ari answered that question honestly!\

10 thoughts on “What counts as real?

  1. A glimpse into a child’s mind is one of the most fascinating experiences in life. I’ve heard many children make strange observations that get glossed over in the rush of the day, or even repudiated simply because the listening adult didn’t quite grasp what the child was trying to say.I think of the ramifications of this, starting with tarnishing a child’s faith and trust not just in adults but in themselves. Little things matter. These are very young communicators. Drawing the lines between the real and imagined (or the interpreted) is a challenge, for sure … but that flash of insight as to WHY is priceless. Sometimes the message received isn’t as clear as the sender thought. Lines can be blurred. A lesson for us all! I can see Ari sitting there quite sure that he answered correctly. And kudos to Isabelle for being her own advocate (can’t blame her; stories AND cupcake decorating?!).

    1. Yes… to all of this, Fran! On the surface, this story is about Ari saying he has a puppy at home. But what it’s really about is trying to get into the mind of my child’s nd accept his imagined world as real. It’s hard to do as someone who is grounded in reality, but, I realized yesterday that entering his imagined world is truly a gift. So, I’m just running with it now!

  2. Of course Fran’s comment nails my thinking. So often adults are quick to judge or assume a child words are inaccurate BUT if adults stop and pause and for a moment try to adjust their perspective, let themselves be informed by the child, our own eyes can be opened! I think I want to go to Cupcake Storytime and Decorating next time!

    1. It is all about adjusting one’s perspective!
      I think he believes that the three puppies he sleeps with are real. And to him, they are. (Not sure if you read last week, but one of them joined in our nighttime prayers… so of course they’re real!)

  3. Fran said exactly what I was thinking. I love that Ari thinks his puppies are real. In fact, I have a sneaking suspicion that my 9yo – who sleeps in a sea of stuffies – probably still secretly believes that his stuffies come alive at night… Also, cupcakes and stories? Who wouldn’t want to go to that?

  4. I’ve spent a LOT of time around toddlers lately with 5 young grandchildren and I’ve come to accept that their reality is often “literal” and Ari does have pups! Why didn’t I come up with the idea of cupcakes and books? Why didn’t you? Sigh..another lost opportunity for riches.

  5. I love this post and the thread of comments. I remember learning as a parent that if my kids said something, there was always a basis in “reality.” Often it took me some mental contortions to figure it out and their version didn’t match my interpretation, but when I finally understood, I felt all the richer for it.

  6. This is such a sweet snippet, and hooray! that he feels his puppies are real (because imagination = wonderful and also then maybe he won’t beg for a REAL real one for awhile…unless you want one). All four of my children treated certain toys as if they were actual members of our family at some point and two of them had imaginary friends for a short while. I loved hearing their stories!

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