Beyond the Book

The following week, on my 17th visit to the preschool classroom, Allen’s teachers advised me to brace myself for a difficult day. There had been an unfortunate incident at home in the night and authorities had been called to the scene.
“Stories are hard,” Allen told me when I once again invited him to the story table.
“Because of you.”
“Because you have to think?”
“And sit still?”
“Well, please come talk to me. I really liked your echo story [A is for Anecdote]. Do you remember when you said where are you? and instead of an echo your friends said over here?
Allen nodded.
“How about if instead of a story, you teach your friends about echoes?”
“Yeah, I want to teach karate!”
I gave myself a moment to remember the name of the road we were on…or was it trying to cross?
“Okay. What do you want to teach?”
“Training karate. Kick and punch and scream cowabunga.”
I had him practice, in sloooowwww motion, the kick and the punch, and added that we were indoors so a cowabunga scream would work better as a whisper.
I also reminded him of story acting’s just pretend rule [Video Games with Bubby clip], which is one way to practice two skills needed for play, work and learning: emotional regulation and physical control.
(A corollary of just pretend is also a mini-math lesson: Actions must be carried out at arm’s length. My arm is longer. Let’s measure.)
Allen was willing to listen and practice, and at the end of our session, before running off to play, he added a moral to our unfolding story: “Yeah, so no one gets hurt.”

The next morning I wrote a character and some dialogue into my Playbook:This is where we record our observations, stories and conclusions.

Self: I need an imaginary friend to help demonstrate serve and return.
Casey: Pick me! Pick me! Also, since one good alter ego deserves another, who…
Self (reflecting and evolving with the help of the chicken, kind of like Paley did when she wrote a magpie story for her book, You Can’t Say You Can’t Play): I have fond memories of watching a telenovela with my abuela – was it Muchacha Italiana Viene a Casarse? – doesn’t matter – I shall call myself Esmeralda!

A is for Anecdote                                                                C is for Conversation  ✒︎

Video companion guide and Seeing Into Conversations chapbook.
Beyond nuts and bolts >br<
(Click to purchase)