I usually don’t let this much time pass before telling you about something. Typically, if I haven’t gotten around to it in a week and a half, it ain’t gonna happen. But I’m determined to tell you about this. In part because it was kind of awesome and I really want to remember it later. And in part cause it might just be helpful to someone else. But mostly, if I’m being honest, I want to share it because I’m pretty damned proud of us for coming up with it. And by us, I mean me.
For Brooke’s birthday, my dad bought her (and us, cause, well, yeah) tickets to the circus. As you might remember, he and his bride were here with us for the big day, so it was extra special because they had the chance to present the gift themselves. Which also presented a huge dilemma.
You see, the gift was tickets. To an event. In the future.
You with me?
The question was, how on earth would we present something wholly conceptual in a way that would not only make sense to her, but might actually get her excited?
And then it hit me. We had a plan.
Katie and I headed off to iParty in search of supplies. An hour and a half and a life-size cardboard cut out of Sheldon later, we had what we needed. Yeah, seriously, she used her birthday money to buy this ..
Yes, my child now has a 6’2″ Sheldon in her room and he scares the crap out of multiple times a day.
On the morning of the big day, we prepped my Dad and Grandma N and got our props ready to go. I fired up the video camera, and Katie did her thing.
“Hey, Brooke,” she announced, “do you know what your present from Papa and Grandma N is?”
“No,” said Brooke, looking around as if she’d missed a memo.
“They’re sending you somewhere!” said Katie gleefully. “But we’re not going to tell you where. We’re gonna play Katie’s Clues to figure it out!”
Brooke LOVES Blue’s Clues. And she really, really loves the episode where Joe takes control and declares it Joe’s Clues. This was right in her wheelhouse.
“Okay, Katie,” she said happily. And, with that, we were off.
Note: Since I was busy videotaping / participating in the show, the following pictures were taken ex post facto.
First, there was this ..
We found Katie’s first clue (the hand-shaped chip clip, which was a lucky find at the Supermarket) on this Big Top shaped cup. We wrote it down in our Handy Dandy Notebook.
Next up, there was this, though at the time it was my face in the hole (trust me, hers is cuter, even though she doesn’t look thrilled in this picture because, in a perfect act of parental irony, I asked her to take a break from watching Blue’s Clue’s to snap it.)
A clue! A clue!
The Daredevil went into the notebook.
So what do we have so far?
A Big Top and a Daredevil.
Hmm, I wonder where you could be going for your birthday?
Let’s see what the last clue is!
Katie disappeared behind the dining room door for the transformation, and then returned as the very last clue for our Handy Dandy Notebook …
So there we had it. Our three clues.
It was time for the … Thinking Chair!
We headed into the den, piled into the comfy chair, and put our three clues together.
A Big Top.
And a Clown.
“Hey, Brooke,” Katie asked, “Where do you think Papa and Grandma N are sending you for your birthday?”
“The circus!” she shouted.
And then of course, we sang.
“We sat on down, figured it out, what Katie’s Clues were all about. Wow, you know what? We’re really smart!”
And that, my friends, is the story of how, in a fleeting moment of genius, we figured out how to successfully present a totally abstract present to a concrete kid.
(And have a ton of fun in the process.)
P.S. I couldn’t have done any of this without Katie. Well, I could have, but I would have just looked really silly and it wouldn’t have been any fun. Katie, if you’re reading this, please know how grateful your mama is, from the bottom of my heart, for you. For the fact that you’ll go along with my silly schemes, that you’ll still spend a Saturday roaming the aisles of iParty with your mama, and that it will feel like a party when you do, that you are willing to go to such lengths for your sister, that you somehow convinced me that using your birthday money to buy a 6’2″ tall Sheldon was a good idea, that you are in this world. I’m just .. grateful.
Really the end.