Sunday, November 10, 2013

That thing about marching to her own drummer, or, how to attend a book signing

There's a large book festival in town every year and it's happening right now and I wanted to show L some lit love. She's wistful for the immersive book experience she sees her sister enjoying so much. Soon she'll be reading fluently, we tell her, and soon she'll fall nose first into chapter books only to emerge hours later, pale and hungry, and soon she'll have a stack beside her bed. Soon. It will happen.

It must be hard to be a younger sibling. She spends so much time observing and emulating and measuring. 

So this book festival had an event on the schedule today that I thought might be perfect for L. It was centered around a new story book about a little girl who was to be the flower girl in her aunt's wedding. The event was a tea, with fancy little cakes and tiny sandwiches. Girls were invited to wear their most formal dress-up. The author was going to read her book and run a craft project and answer questions and hold a signing. And earlier in the afternoon I had mother-daughter book club with E, so this was perfect: on a day that brought L some acute book-attention mama-time envy, she and I could have a special thing, too.

We sat at the front table and listened to the author read her book. We enjoyed little candies and learned how to fold origami hearts. We enjoyed the bounties of the resplendent table: little toy rings to wear, pastel chocolates to nibble, bride and groom paper dolls to color. 

At the conclusion of the formal presentation, the event organizer invited the author to recess to the bookselling area and for all the little girls to follow her to have their books signed. L didn't move, contentedly coloring. I thought she'd get up in a minute, but when she finished her bride she reached for another blank and began to color again. "Don't you want to get your book signed?" I asked her.

No! she answered quickly in a tone that let me know I should have known her answer. We can just sign it ourselves when we get home!

And then, as she sat and colored and sat and colored, all the other attendees left and the room entirely emptied except for us and a few elderly volunteers who slowly ambled toward clearing the room's decorations. L approached the nearest septuagenarian and asked in her sweetest voice:

since there's nobody else left, can I take these balloons home?

Old ladies always think she's darling.

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