“Where is this place?”
“It should be right here!”
“Can we park here?”
There are the questions and exclamations one makes driving around Atlanta when looking for an address you’ve never been before. Even with GPS.
Jenn and I said and thought many more things as we rushed to the Fabrefaction Theatre to see “Charlotte’s Web”. We wondered why we were going and how Penelope would be able to pay attention during the performance. When we walked into the small theatre the MC said the performance was one hour, no intermission.
Jenn and I looked at one another. One hour? No intermission? Penelope doesn’t watch movies yet. We’ve never done anything that’s required an hour of her attention. Here we were on Mother’s day with Stephanie and Charlie and a cast ranging in age from six to sixteen for an HOUR LONG PLAY.
I’ll just have to take her out when she talks or gets up and wants to play and…and…
It never happened. She got up halfway through the performance to go stand by Jennifer. And that was it. Brilliant.
So yet again I am taught that most valuable lesson to never underestimate my daughter.
After the play we had a delicious lunch at Yeah! Burger. It doesn’t sound like much but we had a great time and it was a better way to spend Mother’s day than sitting at home.
Several months ago I started watching “Ponyo” the Studio Ghibli film based on “The Little Mermaid”. We watched about five minutes before it was either time for dinner or time to play. But this time we started watching and…and…
We kept watching. For thirty minutes. Until.
We stopped. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen the movie and I forgot about the scene when Ponyo’s magical father emerges from the sea to bring Ponyo back to her home in the ocean. Penelope started weeping and my heart broke. I told her over and over “it’s going to be alright, sweetie she’s ok”. I turned off the movie.
“NO!” she said.
What? She wanted to keep watching. I realized we’d been here before. The time we watched the last fifteen minutes of “Finding Nemo” she had the same reaction. She wept. But not at any point in the film I would have thought she would get upset. We watched Nemo get captured. We watched Bruce try to eat Dori and Marlin. We watched Nemo in the dentist’s aquarium, trying to escape. At one time or another we watched most of the film.
The first time she saw Nemo leave for school, at the end of the movie, something about that touched her. Even when Nemo came back and “hugged” his dad, she was devastated. So were we. She wanted to watch the scene again and cried more when we led her away. I almost started crying! We relented and watched it again and she cried but wanted to keep watching it.
To this day she likes to read her Nemo board books. Both of these movies moved her in some way we don’t understand.
The rain stopped. Jenn wanted to get out, to do something out of the house. I understood why. While the car is in the shop she’s stuck at home.
Saturday afternoon we drove back to the same street we cursed while looking for the theatre. Stephanie told us about a great store for children’s clothes and toys right across from Yeah! Burger.
Seed Factory. Getting out to go to a children’s store held little appeal to me. But I wasn’t the one stuck at home all week.
Outside the shop sat an old children’s toy. A fire engine without wheels. Penelope sat in it, just as thrilled to be behind the wheel. We could have spent the afternoon right there. With some persuasion we headed inside.
Spacious. Clean. Magical. Stephanie had said it was her favorite children’s store and now we knew why.
I sat with Penelope at a children’s table, playing with wooden trains and wooden people who went to work on top of the train. People whose torso rotated 180 degrees to sit. People old, young, Eastern and Western. Penelope and I loved it. Then we explored the store, looking for mama.
Everywhere we turned there was another amazing toy or stuffed animal. I could have spent a month’s pay in this place without batting an eye. If I had that kind of money. I found out Penelope knew her alphabet when I picked up a wooden board with the letters embedded in it and asked her what the letter “A” was.
“A”. I got the letter “Q”.
“Q” she said.
(Initially I thought nothing of people asking if she was learning English. Now it’s getting annoying. Please give me ONE COMPELLING REASON WHY SHE WOULD NOT BE LEARNING ENGLISH. Instead I explain “Yes, she is. I speak more Chinese than she does” But that was true the day we met so…)
If we weren’t hungry and didn’t have to get home I could have spent all day in this store. The best selection of interesting children’s books, entertaining educational toys, and other miscellaneous things delightful to parents and children.
Seed Factory, you rock.
Fatherhood. It’s a wonderful thing.