On Wednesday my daughter will turn three years old. Ever since the we discovered that my wife was pregnant (May 14, 2008), I have written a daily blog to our daughter entitled Greetings Little One. It contains stories, observations, bits of wisdom, photos, videos and the like. A thorough recounting of the thoughts, feelings and events of the day for Clara to read when she is older.
I started writing the blog for her, but in truth, Elysha and I have enjoyed it a great deal. To be able to go back to a specific time in our daughter’s life and read about what we were doing on those days has been an unexpected blessing.
In terms of parenting, starting the blog was one one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
Writing it has also helped me to savor every day that I spend with Clara. Parents often say that their kids grow up so fast. I have not found this to be the case. I suspect that because I sit down and recount the events of every day of Clara’s life in some small way, time has not been quite so slippery for me.
In thinking about Clara’s upcoming birthday, I’ve been reading some of the posts that led up to her birth three years ago and have been enjoying the opportunity to reminisce immensely.
During this week, I am going to publish a few of those posts from Greetings Little One here. I hope you enjoy.
… Sneezy, Sleepy, Dopey and Stinky
Speaking of reading to you, I should also mention, little one, that I can be somewhat unorthodox when reading to kids. I have a habit of diverting away from the words on the page and inventing my own stories up on the spot while pretending to read.
Improving upon the book, if you will.
A few years ago, I was reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to my students. Bored with the story that I knew so well, I decided to add a new child to the book, joining the ranks of Charlie Bucket, Violet Beauregard, Mike Teavee, Varuca Salt, and Augustus Gloop. Staring at the pages and turning them now and again, I invented entire passages about a bratty little child and his outlandish exploits. I cannot remember the specifics of this new, sixth child, but many students raised their hands with questions about why they had never seen or heard of this new character in the movie version of the novel.
Books and movies always differ in some way, I explained.
Surprisingly, my instincts about adding a new character weren’t so far off. Roald Dahl’s original manuscript included a sixth child.
In 2005, a short chapter which had been removed during the editing of the book circulated, entitled "Spotty Powder", was published. The chapter featured the elimination of Miranda Piker, a "teacher's pet" with a headmaster father. Wonka introduces the group to a new candy that will make children temporarily appear sick so that they can miss school that day, which enrages Miranda and her father. They vow to stop the candy from being made, and storm into the secret room where it is made. Two screams are heard, and Wonka agrees with the distraught Mrs. Piker that they were surely ground into Spotty Powder, and were indeed needed all along for the recipe, as "We’ve got to use one or two schoolmasters occasionally or it wouldn’t work." He then reassures Mrs. Piker that he was joking. Mrs. Piker is escorted to the boiler room by the Oompa-Loompas, who sing a short song about how delicious Miranda's classmates will find her.
So beware, little one. You may end up in class some day, wondering why the teacher’s version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs doesn’t include Stinky, the oft-forgotten eighth dwarf who was actually responsible for saving Snow White but ignored by the press because of his unusual body odor.