The story continues
I was folding sleepers for Archie when I did a double take.
Those elephants and giraffes, in their light blues and navys, were familiar.
Then I pulled up the picture: the first time Maria read to Jane, nearly a month old, the little Eskimo baby with the wild head of hair and sunburn.
Sure enough, it was the same sleeper.
I headed to Jane's closet next and spotted the same colorful sweater -- now a perfect fit for 2-year-old Jane -- and the mustard-colored corduroy pants.
I'd already tucked away the beloved book, a gift from my Aunt Sally, and suddenly, it became the first book Jane read to 1-month-old Archie.
The story continues.
This adjustment to three kids is not only an expansion but a continuation of rites and rituals begun years back. A line moving forward but also circling back in beautiful, comforting ways.
I remember sitting in the kitchen doing a dramatic reading of "The Little Engine That Could" to Maria, strapped in her high chair, eyes filling with tears at the thought of that poor abandoned engine and those children who would not receive their toys.
The hardcover book is the perfect size for small hands, and I love the cheery, primary-colored illustrations created in 1954 by the husband-wife duo George and Doris Hauman. #yestoallthevintage
I'd already decided to decorate Archie's bedroom with a trains-and-planes motif, and this book makes the perfect centerpiece. I ordered two paperback copies to convert into a pennant banner. (Two copies so I can use the front and back of each page.)
To me, there's no better inspiration for a bedroom design (or party theme) than a book! The first party we ever threw for a child -- Maria's first birthday -- was an homage to "The Cat In The Hat," the first book I read on my own.
Maria's room is now decorated with Raggedy Ann and Andy, including the large, homemade dolls I loved as a child and a pennant banner made of an old Golden Books Raggedy Ann and Andy book. (We packed another vintage Raggedy Ann book, the original tale, on a picnic I blogged about last year.)
Archie is still sleeping in a co-sleeper beside our bed, and his room -- our last remaining guest bedroom -- won't be transitioned till late August, after the last of our summer visitors.
Once it's complete, I'll be sure to share pictures here.
Christina Ries is a freelance writer who lives with her husband and three young children in Inver Grove Heights. Write her at email@example.com.