31 August 2012

learning from a child

Recently, in preparing for a young family to visit our house, I got out my own childhood doll, Lolly, only to find that her dress was so old and worn that it was coming apart. It certainly wasn't suitable for play anymore. I mentioned this to a friend, and she suggested I pick up a package of doll clothes at Ikea.
Although they looked all right in the store, the clothes turned out to be about two sizes too big for Lolly. But with a bit of hand-stitching I took up the dress in the shoulders so that it was more or less acceptable, and put Lolly on the shelf of children's toys in our living room.

Almost as soon as our young guest found Lolly she asked me, "Don't you have any other clothes for her?" With exaggerated care, I showed her Lolly's original dress and how the fabric was disintegrating. Then I told the story of buying new clothes, finding they were too big, and hand-sewing the shoulders of the dress so that it would fit. But unlike me, this child was not daunted at all.

She took off the new striped dress, and put Lolly into the blue sweatsuit. She then carefully rolled up the sleeves and the pant-legs so that they were the right length. Then she put on the raincoat. 

Again, she carefully rolled up the sleeves. This was difficult, since there was already a large bunch of fabric there (the rolled up sweatshirt sleeves), but she persevered. She even managed to get the rain-booties onto the doll, despite the fact that the doll doesn't really have feet. By fastening the booties as tight as they would go, and then holding the doll very carefully, she was able to keep them from falling right off.

I told her how glad I was that she had shown me that the too-large clothes would work for Lolly. I really meant it! I had not even considered keeping them, but already had them ear-marked for the "donate" box in our attic. What a pleasure to be shown something unexpected.

1 comment:

  1. What a delight to read! That's one of the main things that motivates me to work with children. I never know what is going to happen next or what I will learn from them.


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