Do you make up stories, tell tall tales, or sing silly songs to your kids? If so, you may already know that inventing a character and crafting a story or song off the cuff can be a hilarious adventure for you and your family. One of your tales may turn into your child’s favorite bedtime or dinnertime story, as is the case in my home. I usually try to incorporate a few real life details or events to make a story more familiar and to help prevent certain memories from evaporating.
In my willy-nilly rambling one day, while on vacation in France this past autumn, I suddenly found myself spinning a slightly absurd story that has since captured my daughter’s imagination in a way that I could have never dreamed. While on holiday in Paris and Provence we rode on some carousels. I should restate that, we rode A LOT of carousels. It seems they are everywhere in France! The lights of a carousel and the sound of giddy children can be heard from Avignon to the capital. Our girl was on nine separate merry-go-rounds during our two weeks abroad. I cannot even guess at the total number of spins. Let’s just say that I didn’t allocate a separate “carousel budget” and I should have.
Anyhow, her favorite was this two-story structure located at the foot of the Trocadero, on the other side of the river Seine, across from the Eiffel Tower. This one carousel is at the center of my tale.
The story goes like this:
A group of animal friends, who we assume live together (this a part of the story I never fully fleshed out) in a suburban neighborhood not far from Paris, want to go on an adventure. Sometimes I add or subtract critters based on my memory of this tale, but the core group consists of the following: a deer, a cat, a goose, a mouse, a bunny rabbit, a caterpillar and a seal. They decide to visit and ascend the Eiffel Tower. They buy their tickets for the metro, wait for the train and in no time arrive at the Trocadero stop. From there they take the escalator up (my girl loved riding all the escalators up and down) to the surface, hang a quick left around the building and WHAM! They are standing in awe of the Eiffel Tower as it rises up directly in front of them. They walk to the edge of the Trocadero plaza and spot an enormous line to catch the Eiffel Tower elevator. They are bummed, because they know that they will never make it to the front of the line, to the top of the tower and then back home in time for dinner. But just before all hope is lost (I am about to quote myself) “The deer, the tallest of the friends, sees lights and hears music – and all the friends scream, CAROUSEEEEEELLLLLL!!!
It goes on for a bit more. There are other kinds of animals already riding the carousel, so friends are made and they all have a grand time. The seal, who is always playing the role of my daughter, climbs to the 2nd story and rides either a black, brown, or white horse. She likes to change this part every time and I consistently guess the wrong color.
Making up stories is a ton of fun and creates a very unique, and slightly odd, bond between the two of you. Retelling the tale is the super special part of the equation. You know they love hearing your voice telling them a tale that no other little boy or girl in the world has ever had the privilege of hearing. It is all their own!
Give it a shot tonight! Don’t worry about your abilities to weave a story, you will figure it out and get better at it. Just keep it fun and familiar and you will be fine.
Have one that your child likes? Leave a comment and share some of the specifics!