Tuesday, August 6, 2013

All I Want for Christmas is...a Pig

Second to lemonade, our summer focus has been on pigs. Yes, it's an exciting and fascinating life I lead.

Our summer bucket list included reading Charlotte's Web out loud. Tom and/or I read to Will and Hallie every night, both picture books and simpler chapter books like those in the Magic Tree House series, but we'd never read a longer chapter book - one that would take us more than three nights to finish - out loud. I decided on Charlotte's Web when putting together our summer bucket list because 1) I love the story myself, 2) it was the right length, and 3) the Charlotte's Web movie is adorable and I thought watching it would be a fun way to wrap up the whole pig and spider experience. When I told my mom our plan, she asked if I'd wait to read the book until we arrived in Madison because she wanted to listen as well, and of course I agreed.

I couldn't believe how much the kids and I looked forward to our pre-bedtime, reading ritual. Will and Hallie love to read and to be read to, but their enthusiasm about reading "another chapter! Another chapter!" reached a new level of book-related excitement.

It took us about two-and-a-half weeks - knocking out one or two chapters each night - to finish Charlotte's Web. Throughout that time, Hallie and Lily talked and sang about pigs 24/7 (the girls' new catchphrase, "bibbity, bobbity, pig!", ruined Cinderella for all of us adults), Will researched the dietary needs and habitats of pigs on the internet, Hallie convinced Grandma to buy her a gorgeous pig puppet, and Grandma, Grandpa, Will, Hallie, and I visited the county fair to see a few pigs in person.
Just one day after joining our family, Hallie's pig - Wilbur, of course - rode
in a patriotically-decorated wagon in the neighborhood 4th of July parade.
Hallie stood outside this little piggy's pen and talked to him until
we finally dragged her to out of the tent and on to see more animals.
She loved that the little piggy had three
housing options: a house made of straw...
...a house made of wood...
...and a house made of bricks.
Smart piggy made the right choice.
When in the presence of animals, an unusual peace and calm come over my normally loud and feisty girl. Her little hands reach out softly and gently, and her voice becomes quiet and kind. From kittens and baby chicks to horses, snakes, and now pigs, the animals with whom Hallie interacts feel a tenderness that comes from deep within her soul.

I digress. Back to pigs.

Wilbur the (puppet) pig, along with Olive the (stuffed) owl, now have a special place in our home, and in her arms.

The kids have moved on from asking for a kitten and now plan to ask Santa for a pig for Christmas. At some point I'll have to break it to them that "our" Santa doesn't bring farm animals to children, no matter how good they are.

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