Twelve Little Toy Animals, A Little Girl and a Big Imagination

A few years ago my husband and I bought our little granddaughter some toy zoo  animals.

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We assumed she would play with them for a couple of years and then we would pass them on to another small child.  We also assumed she would just play with them by herself.

Were we ever wrong!

From the very beginning she wanted someone to play with her and the animals.  In her imagination, she would take them to McDonald’s or to the playground.  Someone was needed to be their voice and order french fries for them or scream with delight as they climbed the monkey bars.

When Mom and Dad and Grandpa all declined the honor, I became their voice.  Thinking the novelty would wear off soon, I had no idea that four years later I would still be their voice.

Oh, the places we have been.

We started with trips to McDonald’s and to the park, but soon we went to even more interesting places like the museum, the mall and Kids Church.

When she began taking Taw kwon do lessons the animals also went to class.

Then there was school.

Oh the roles I have played!

  • worker at McDonalds
  • worship leader at Kids Church
  • school teacher
  • principal
  • unruly student
  • parent
  • Taw kwon do instructor
  • Taw kwon do student
  • museum curator
  • clerk at Walmart

Oh the places I have been!

  • playground
  • school
  • church
  • museum
  • Nana’s house in Missouri
  • Aunt Beka and Uncle Rob’s house in North Carolina
  • Sierra Leone

The animals have even taken on personalities and we have named them all.

  • Giraffe boy
  • Hippy Hippo
  • Charlie Cheetah
  • Ellie Elephant
  • Winnie Warthog
  • Barbara Bear
  • Ted Tiger
  • Gary Gorilla
  • Ralph Rhino
  • Lexie Lion

And the last two have really become best friends.

  • Zoe Zebra
  • Macey Moose

I think their names and their becoming BFF is probably because my granddaughter is Zoe and her BFF is Macey.  Whatever we are doing, taking a piano lesson, going to McDonald’s or on the playground at recess, these two are always together.

As she grows older the animals come out of their special home (a big plastic box) less and less.  Just when I think I am through being their voice, she pulls them out again and says with a big smile:

Grandma, let’s play with the animals!

To be honest, I do sometimes get a little tired of playing with them.  Yet I know I will miss the day when the animals are never invited out of their box to play with us.

Then, my little girl with her big imagination will be no longer little.

Hey Zoe – let’s play animals!

 

 

 

 

 

Not Your Average Pet Store – This is An Experience!

Spring break this year found my both my daughter and her husband out of town on their jobs leaving my husband and I to take care of – and entertain – our eight-year-old granddaughter.

What to do?

We played school with the animals.  My husband bought these animals at the local zoo one year when she was four years old.  From the very beginning she wanted Grandma to speak for each of the animals.  She would line them up and ask them questions and I would answer as if I was that particular animal.  As she got older I thought we would stop playing with them but the games have only changed.

Now we put them in groups according to whether they have colorful coats with spots or stripes or dull coats, whether they have fur or skin, whether they are a carnivore or not.

They have all been given names.  This week each of the animals had to write a report for school about how they spent their spring break.

  • Ellie Elephant went to gymnastics camp
  • Barbara Bear went with her family to the park
  • Win Warthog took a road trip to see a lighthouse
  • Hippy Hippo went to the zoo
  • Giraffe Boy spent a day at the mall
  • Charlie Cheetah went to Grandma and Papa’s house
  • Rhiny Rhino made some gitter slime
  • Goes Gorilla visited the Medieval Times in Chicago
  • Lexie Lion put together a hydraulic claw
  • Tom Tiger went to Taekwondo camp
  • Zoe Zebra had a date night with Mommy
  • Macey Moose made a trip to see her BFF

Then we did puzzles.  She is becoming pretty good at puzzles and we did a couple – one with 300 pieces and one with 500 pieces.  She loved the one with all the different dogs.

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Papa took her shopping and she got some “hot” bright yellow sunglasses because she insisted that her eyes were really hurting bad in the sunshine.

Being new to the area I did a search on the internet for places to take children and came up with this wonderful and unusual pet store.  This is not a pet store with lots of dogs and cats.  Rather, it is full of exotic pets I have never seen in a pet store.

From Eclectus a bird native to New Guinea, northeastern Australia, and the Maluku Islands to Caiques small, stocky parrots with very bright colors who can live as long as 40 years and everything in between they have it.

eclectus

Eclectus – beautiful bright green

There are rows and rows of exoctic fish.

And seahorses, shrimp, bearded dragons and much, much more.

 

They say “It’s not just a store, it’s an experience.”  They are right.  If you live near the Lansing, Michigan area you must check this store out.

 

Wisdom from Zoe

Love playing school with my granddaughter.  Although we have to play by her rules.

She tells me what character I will be – and she tells me what I am supposed to say.

So really I don’t have to use my imagination – I just follow Zoe’s scrip.

This week we had a music class.

She was the teacher – Mrs. Z.

Our stuffed animal friend, Willie, was himself – Willie.

I was Susie Q, a not very bright student.

student

She drew the treble clef on the chalk board and proceeded to explain to me how to remember what notes were on the different lines.

clef

For anyone who has had some music lessons you know we were taught that little sentence

Good boys do fine always

to help us remember the notes on the five lines were g – b – d – f – a.

She said we needed to come up with other ways to remember the notes.  Since Susie Q is not too bright, she could not think of any other sentences to remember the notes.  (Maybe that’s because Susie Q is really not a young student, but an old grandma whose mind is stuck on that sentence she learned years ago as a young child.)

But not to worry.  Mrs. Z is very intelligent and she had a new way to remember it.

Good burgers deserve fries always.

After this we had a math class and Mrs. Z tried to show Susie Q how to do the “new” math.

math

Needless to say, school ended very quickly after that as Susie Q could not understand the new math at all.

By the time school was over, Susie Q was exhausted and needed a nap.

Mrs. Z a/k/a Zoe must have enjoyed it because she told her mother:

I need a sleepover at Grandma’s.

We have set a date and I will need to spend some time trying to think of a new sentence for the treble clef lines, try to understand the new math and – most importantly – get a good nap in before she comes.

granma