November 4th, 2010

The Abbreviated Version

Kate Chretien

Every kids’ book we own has at least 3 versions. There’s the “full-scale” version, that is, the book as read with all of its actual words in print. There’s the “child’s read” version, the version which involves a child, usually a toddler, flipping through +/- their own wonky narration.  (Often, entire pages or book chunks are skipped.) Then there’s the most popular version in our household:  The Abbreviated Version.

Do you know of The Abbreviated Version?

The Abbreviated Version usually comes out in times of great parental fatigue. Maybe it was a long day at work. Maybe the kids are on the overtired side (read: Satanic Possession) but insist on a bedtime story. Maybe the bedtime story is the one thing standing between you and REST (Glorious Rest).

(Can you see why this is the most popular version in our household? We ALWAYS fulfill one or more of these criteria.)

That’s when the creative license in story-telling comes out, manifested as a skipped sentence here. A paragraph summary there. I mean, who has the time and will to read ALL of those pesky prepositions and connector words?  And really, (glancing over at the 2-year old who is more interested in the picture of the minor character in a crowd eating an ice cream cone than the actual words coming out your mouth), who’s keeping track anyway?

It’s an art, really, knowing when to keep in a key sentence or phrase and leaving out the other time-consuming details.

Last night, it was late. I was exhausted. You know, pregnant-exhausted.  And Luke hands me the long Fireman Frank story again. No, not that one! I took a deep, stabilizing breath and proceeded with a story that went something like this:  ”Frank the Fireman went to school, yada yada… then he had some lunch… yep, mmhmmm… then he put out the fire… ‘Oh, look, Luke, a big shiny truck!”

Boom. Mommy saved herself 5 minutes. 5 minutes that could have brought her closer to checking in at Three Pines Mental Institution.

Caveat: Children must be young (read: clueless) enough that they remain ignorant of The Abbreviated Version. Try with older and more savvy children at your own peril.

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This Weeks Tip

We did a review a while ago of dry shampoo. Here’s an alternative when you don’t have time to wash, but want to get rid of the oily-ness. Sprinkle some baking soda on your hair, comb through then quickly fluff your hair with a blow dryer. (note: You can also add a little scented baby powder to keep your hair smelling clean!)