This summer I briefly played around with children’s stories. My goal was to write a story for each of my children about them, at their current age, based on something that they had done. I only wrote stories for the youngest ones though, as I quickly discovered that older children are a lot more complex in their motivations and thought processes and I realized my older children really needed several chapters to capture who they were, and I didn’t feel up to the task. So, that project stalled out, but here is the story I wrote about David.
David was 3 years old. He lived in a purple house in the city with his 4 brothers, 5 sisters, one mommy, and one daddy, a dog, two ferrets, and three goldfish. David was the 9th child. That didn’t really mean anything to him though. He could only count to 3 and numbers were just fun things to say. He didn’t really know how many brothers and sisters he had either. He just knew that he was always surrounded by people that he loved. Sometimes everyone was there and it was very noisy and there was lots of laughing and talking and wrestling and playing. Sometimes it was just him and his sister Phoebe and his baby brother Noah. Then the laughing and talking and wrestling and playing were a bit quieter. And of course Mommy was almost always there, and if Mommy had to go somewhere then one of his Big Big sisters or his Big Brother would watch over him. He knew that he was always surrounded by people that loved him.
David loved his family but he also loved animals. He loved their dog Todd. Todd was a big dog, a lot bigger than David. David loved to wrap his arms around him and hug him and then Todd would nudge David’s face with his nose and sometimes lick him and that made David laugh. David also loved the ferrets. They belonged to his big brothers, Levi and Judah. The ferrets lived in Levi and Judah’s bedroom. David loved to hold them in his lap and pet them, though they usually tried to squirm out of his arms. David also loved the goldfish. Every day, when Daddy got home from work, Daddy would get out the fish food and feed them. The goldfish would see Daddy coming and they would crowd up into one corner of the fish tank, waiting for their food. Sometimes, Daddy would let David feed the fish. Daddy would let David take a pinch of fish food from the orange bottle that had a picture of a fish on it. Then he would lift David up high so David could reach the top of the fish tank and drop the food into the water. David would then stand with his nose pressed up against the fish tank glass and watch the goldfish quickly eat their food. That was so much fun.
David loved the family pets, but he also loved to watch kid shows about animals on the tv. There was one cartoon where each episode taught you about a new animal. David loved to watch this show and he learned a lot. One day, as the whole family was driving home from a visit to Grandma and Grandpa’s house, David thought about one of the shows he had watched. He thought about one of the new animals he had just learned about yesterday, but he couldn’t remember everything from the show.
“Mama, what do leprechauns eat?” David asked from his carseat.
Mommy turned around in her seat and looked at him in surprise.
“Well! That’s a good question! I don’t know what leprechauns eat, I’ve never thought about that!”
David thought for a minute. That didn’t make sense. Mommy knew everything.
“No Mama, Leprechauns! What do they eat?”
Mommy said, in a confused voice, “You do mean leprechauns, the little green elves, right?”
What was mommy talking about?
“No Mama! Not green elves, leprechauns!”
Mommy was quiet for a minute. “I think when you say leprechauns, you actually mean something else. What does a leprechaun look like?”
Finally, Mommy was making a bit more sense.
“Leprechauns are big and have spots and they can run and they climb up into trees.”
Mommy started laughing. “Leopards! You mean leopards!”
David wasn’t quite sure why Mommy was laughing. “Yes, Leopardchans.”
“No sweetie, not leopardchans…it’s leopards.”
“Yes,” David agreed, “leopardchans.”
Mommy shook her head then said, “Leopards eat other animals.”
David thought about that a minute. “Like bunnies and deer?”
“Yes sweetie, like bunnies and deer.”
David sat in his carseat and imagined that he was a leopardchan. He could see himself running through the jungle chasing after a bunny. Of course, he couldn’t imagine eating a bunny. Bunnies were cuddly and furry and Very Cute! Maybe, if he was a leopardchan he could chase the bunny and then when he caught it, they could play together and be friends. David imagined himself playing with a bunny, and that made him happy.
He turned to his sister Phoebe who was sitting in her carseat right next to him.
“Hey Phoebe! When we get home, let’s play leopardchan! I’ll be the leopardchan and you can be the bunny!”
Phoebe gave that annoying laugh she sometimes did, when she was pretending that She was the mommy and He was the baby.
“No David, not leopardchans, Leopards!”
David was starting to get annoyed, why was everyone trying to correct him?
Mommy interrupted them.
“Phoebe, just drop it. It’s not important. If he wants to call it a leopardchan, it’s ok.”
Phoebe scowled at David but was silent for a minute. Then she leaned over and very quietly whispered into David’s ear,
David did not like Phoebe trying to fix his words.
“NO!!!!” he yelled.
Mommy spun around in her seat and stared at him.
“David, do not yell in the car. Phoebe, leave David alone. Phoebe and David, I don’t want you to talk to each other any more. We’re going to be quiet until we get home.”
Phoebe crossed her arms and sat back in her car seat with a frown.
David made a silly face at Phoebe and then sat back in his carseat. He looked out the window. There were lots of trees outside. The trees reminded him of the jungle. The jungle reminded him of leopardchans. Leopardchans reminded him about bunnies. He closed his eyes and imagined he was a leopardchan, running through the jungle with his friend the bunny. David smiled and was happy.