Wednesday, April 15, 2009

We'll Hear a Play

At bath time lately, for reasons I do not know, The Littlest Critic has taken to asking for "a play."

This means telling some outlandish story as I sit on the toilet (not using it, don't be ridiculous; I mean on the lid). The stars of these particular theatricals are her stuffed animals and all rules are off. Elephants are married to bunnies and have puppies as children. Whatever. I used to do something similar with three hippo toys she had for the tub (Cloris, Doris, and Delores), but that eventually grew old.

At any rate, Monday night after dinner, The Wife and I were watching the Mel Gibson Hamlet, which is awesome, haters, completely awesome. TLC was about in the room, not really paying attention. She played some piano, she read from one of her books, put together some of her word magnets on a little plastic-coated metallic book, and she got off the couch and on the couch and off the couch and on the couch, etc. I tried pointing out parts of the story to her, but she didn't seem all that interested.

A few parts she did find interesting, but at one point she turned to The Wife and said, "Mama, I can't understand what they're saying." The Wife explained old forms of language. Fine.

The not so melancholy Dane.

Bath time comes later that night. In a fit of inspiration (or in a lack), I decided I would tell her the story of Hamlet completely. And so, with a huge cast of stuffed animals, I told the story from beginning to end, though I started with the poisoning of The King in a sort of prologue. I did the spurning and death of Ophelia, the stabbing of Polonius, the poisoning plot at the end, and I killed off all her animals save for a black cat, Horatio.

"Is that the whole story?" she asked me.

"Yes it is," I answered.

"The real whole story?" she asked again. I thought maybe she figured I was making it up.

(Sometimes when I'm reading to her at night and I think she's not paying attention, I add insane details to the story like "and then Peter Rabbit heard a rustling in the bushes. Out came an alligator who promptly gobbled up the little rabbit and Peter was never heard of again. The end." Some books have such ludicrous plot developments though that even when I'm reading 'em straight, she asks me if what I've just read is real.)

"Yes," I repeated, "that's the whole real story."

"You forgot something," she admonished with a smile.

"Yeah? What's that?"

"The play."

"The play? I just did the whole play."

"No, the play they watch on the stage. The one with the poison in the ear."

Caught. I had left out the play-within-a-play. She totally busted me like some kind of pint-sized theater critic chastising me for leaving out her favorite scene. Edit a text at your peril.

This kid just makes me love her more and more every day.

Of course, I left out Rosencrantz and Guildenstern too, but luckily she let that part slide.