Swaying under peer pressure
I was excited! I was headed to Texas to visit my grandkids and I was bringing “kerprizes.” (As my granddaughter used to call them.) For 3-year-old Axel, I was bringing a find-the-hidden-picture book that had everything to do with cars and machinery. I knew he’d love it since he never goes anywhere, not even to sleep, without a Matchbox car in each hand.
For 6-year-old Simone, I had a similar book, hidden pictures that had everything to do with “Frozen.” (If you’ve been in a cave lately, it’s a Disney movie about Queen Elsa, her sister, Princess Anna, and Olaf the Snowman, which my granddaughter mispronounces and calls Snowlaf.) I knew she’d love it, as her life revolves around princesses and fairies.
To make the gifting even more exciting, I’d wrapped the over-sized books in little-boy wrapping paper and princess paper. (I’m no slouch in the grandma department.) And then, I hid them in the living room. We played the “you’re getting warmer ... cooler ... HOT!” game. With a little help in the look-over-there department, Axel found his book and sat down, mesmerized by all the machinery. I hid Simone’s in a harder place. It took a bit, but finally she pulled the kerprize from its hiding spot. I couldn’t wait to see her excitement. She ripped off the princess paper and looked at the book that had “Frozen” across the cover. Then, with a flat expression on her face, she set it on the table and said, “I guess I forgot to tell you I don’t like Queen Elsa anymore.”
What? Since when? Yes, she forgot to tell me!
During my whole visit, Axel’s book was in constant rotation, while Simone’s book lay, seemingly frozen to the table.
Near the end of my visit, I invited Simone to have a slumber party with me. Oh, we had fun! We played “hide the stuffed animals” at least seven times, taking turns hiding and finding. We played a card game and scrolled through photos on my phone. Then I went into the living room, picked up the “Frozen” book, climbed into bed and invited Simone to snuggle next to me. I opened the book and watched as she practically turned her head in the opposite direction.
“OK,” I said with as much enthusiasm as I could muster, “find the hidden hairbrush.” Simone could barely bring herself to look at the pages. She swooshed her hand in the vicinity of the hairbrush. No matter if it was a crown or a castle I asked her to find, she acted as if she was a queen and this game was a mere “peasant” pastime, not fit for anyone like her.
Near the end of the evening, as her big blue eyes were beginning to droop, I suggested that maybe we could wrap the book and she could bring it to school for the book exchange they were having in her classroom.
Roxanne Henke dreams, imagines and often dances in her living room in rural North Dakota. She is the author of eight novels. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org