Friday, January 19, 2007

Who's worried?

Months ago I came across a trio of Kevin Henkes books, remaindered, cheap. I couldn't decide between them, so I bought them all. Helena was a big fan of Kitten's First Full Moon so I thought she might like Henkes at the next reading level. I worried that she might not, that it might've been smarter to try one out before committing to all 3, but then rationalized that if it came to that, I could easily find them a happy home.

Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse I was certain would be a hit (and this eventually proved to be true).

I worried a little about Lilly's Big Day — how to explain the concept of flower girl, of wedding, of marriage (none of which J-F and I ever have had or will have, excepting, of course, our marriage of minds and goals to build a life together, blah, blah, blah). Helena hasn't questioned these yet, either as pertains to the story or to our life.

I worried mostly about Wemberly Worried. Because, you see, Wemberly worries a lot, about everything, and Helena doesn't seem to worry about anything at all. I worried that the book might instill worry rather than assuage it.

I worried about when to give her the book. When I bought it, Halloween was just around the corner, and Wemberly worries about her costume being just right, about there being too many butterflies, about being the only butterfly. I was worried enough about Helena liking her costume, and that she might actually care what other people think. I worried for nothing, it turns out, but I thought it better to hold the book for her birthday.

But Wemberly worries about her birthday too, that no one would come to her party, that there wouldn't be enough cake.

So finally Helena received all 3 books for Christmas. It doesn't surprise me that Helena prefers Lilly over Wemberly, and pores over Wemberly's illustrations hoping to catch a glimpse of Lilly (she's there). She finds humour in Wemberly's situations, but seems a bit puzzled by her worried condition.

I ask Helena if she ever worries, what she worries about. She sighs deeply. "Yes. I worry about my dolls. And my stickers."

I don't mean to undervalue the worries of Helena's big little life. Worry for her dolls to means motherly worry, her loving, doting care of them, that they're fed, washed, dressed, blanketed. But her stickers? We don't use stickers for rewards here; they're just plain fun.

Now I worry about putting words in her mouth, but she needs prompting. "Do you worry about losing them?" "Yes. I worry about losing my stickers." I suppose this to mean they must be accounted for, affixed as she finds fit.

No worries.
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