Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Having Character

It is Spirit Week at Clare's school. Each day has a theme, and the children are encouraged to dress according to the theme. So far we've done Spirit Day (dress in school colors), Twins Day (pick a friend or sibling and dress alike), and today was Character Day.

Being the ultra-organizer that I like to think I am, I usually lay out the kids' clothing the night before so getting everyone ready in the morning is easier. Yesterday, however, went from a quiet catch-up-on-chores day at home (kids napping, laundry, baking and cooking) to chaos when I had to unexpectedly pick up Jamie from school in the middle of the day due to a migraine. This entailed waking small girls up from much-needed naps to which they refused to return when we came back home. Jamie's migraines often lead to bouts of vomiting (which this one did) and then there were the overtired 3- and almost 1-year olds, so the house was not the serene place I envisioned when I thought out my day in the morning.

As Clare was taking her evening bath, I remembered about Character Day. I went in to ask Clare which character she wanted to dress as, and fully expecting the answer to be Cinderella (over the past four years, Clare has dressed as Cinderella for the last gazillion events that require some sort of dressing up - Halloween, All Saints Day, Character Day last year, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, Make-A-Wish events, you name it, she is Cinderella), my follow-up question was which Cinderella dress did she want to wear (of course, we have three). So she stopped me in my tracks when she answered, "Eric Carle." Eric Carle? The author? As in The Very Hungry Caterpillar guy?

Clare currently has a fascination with Eric Carle so I should not have been that surprised. She "calls" him on her play phone. She talks about him. She pores over his books. And now she wanted to be him. I knew she would become quite upset if I told her that Eric Carle was not technically a character (who knows? Maybe he is.... I've never met him), so Shawn immediately pulled up a photograph of Eric Carle so we had a visual to work with. He is typically photographed wearing dark clothes, has glasses, and a beard. Since it was past 7pm and we had one kid in the bathtub, one kid sleeping off a migraine, and three others freshly-bathed and pajama-ed waiting to go to bed, we had to work with what we had.

So voila.... introducing our Eric Carle.
No gray stick leftover from our theater days so we had to forego the beard. Clare was THRILLED to be Eric Carle today!

Clare has matured so much over the past year. (The glasses also make her look more mature. They are not really her glasses, but an old pair of mine that we popped the lenses out of.) The fact that she was ready to leave Cinderella behind (even if only for today) and put some thought into her choice stunned me. The knowledge she soaks in at school is amazing. I was speaking with her speech therapist just yesterday about Clare's growth and potential. You never know what lies in store for your children, and you do what you can to mold them in a positive way. When you have a child with Williams syndrome, there is even more uncertainty of over what the future holds. Many of those typical rites of passage you can foresee for your other children most likely will not ever happen - driving a car, going to college, having a career, getting married, having children. With all the unknown, all you can do is trust in God's plan.

It is fascinating to watch your children develop into the people they are meant to be. Becoming Eric Carle was the next natural step in Clare's metamorphosis.


nichole said...

Such a sweet story - I love that she picked Eric Carle! The Very Hungry Caterpillar is one of those books that stands the test of time.

The Lady of the Holler said...

What an encouraging story! Love it that she picked someone on her own! (Our three-year-old Kieran has WS.) :o)


Sue said...

I have a 27 year old daughter with William's Syndrome. I found your blog will wondering if there's a connection with WS and Migraines. Shari has had them for years and nothing seems to help. But I REALLY wanted to tell you that after 7 years of having her permit, Shari got her license at age 26. She doesn't go far - work, church and my parents, but she did it!