While Kevin was away in Alabama last month, I thought it would be a good idea to start a chapter book to read with the girls every night before bed. Charlotte's Web had always been one of my all time favorite children's books, so I thought that may be a fun one to start with, especially since there was a newer movie that was just released a few years ago. I told the girls when we finished the book, we would have a special movie night after Clara went to bed and watch the movie together on mommy & daddy's couch in the living room.
We started reading the book in early September, usually a chapter per night. Before we would start reading, we would review what we had read previously and after we finished reading a chapter, we would review what we just read. I was amazed at how well Mairead comprehended the story, I mean, she's only 4, but she really did grasp a lot of the story. She also idolized, Fern. Mairead wants to be 8, just like Fern, so when Mairead heard Fern was 8, she was smitten! Lilah, of course, didn't get too much of the story, but she just liked hearing about all the farm animals and when her mood was right, she'd curl up and listen!
It took us just about one month to complete the chapter book, not to bad considering the girls are only 4 and 2.5 years old! The last few chapters were tough because the girls knew the movie had arrived and all Lilah wanted to do was watch it. Mairead understood that when we were done, we could watch it.
As we neared the end of the book, I forgot about how sad it was, I mean, I never really thought about discussing the concept of death with Mairead. Charlotte plays such a strong part in the book that her death couldn't go unnoticed and believe me, it didn't. Of course, I am more hormonal that I thought I was and as I was reading the details and 'Wilbur' saying his good-byes to Charlotte, I was fighting back tears. I couldn't believe it! but, it was sad...Mairead definitely picked up on the sadness and picked up that Charlotte had died, well, I didn't hide it, why should I? She asked why and I told her she died because she was very, very old and sick. You could tell her little brain was processing everything. Once we finished the chapter, we went into bed and she asked Kevin if he could keep her safe from dying. Oh. My. Goodness. Talk about difficult conversations with a 4 year old. No one ever prepares you for this part of parenthood, and let me tell you, it ain't fun. AT all. Once I got into bed with her, she asked when she was going to die. I told her not for a very, very long time. 100 years. And told her for now, we will worry about having fun and loving those who are close to us, just like Fern and Charlotte did for each other. Thankfully that was enough to satisfy her. For the moment.
So, tonight, we read the last chapter of Charlotte's Web so we could watch the movie this evening after Clara went to bed. The girls were so excited to have their first official movie night. We all curled up on our couch and the girls watched the movie on the big screen. The look on Mairead's face for the first 20 minutes of the movie was priceless. She had a big smile from ear to ear and was in awe that she was actually watching the movie. I was in amazement at how much she could actually verbalize about the book! I had just as much fun watching her excitement as I did watching the movie with her and Lilah! As the end approached, I wondered how Mairead would react to the death of Charlotte. Just as I suspected, Mairead was a bit emotional. She cried and was obviously sad. I felt horrible, and I just held her tightly. In the end, we talked about how Wilbur was happy, and how Wilbur saved her babies just like Charlotte saved him. I hope it made her feel better. She said she wanted to watch the movie again tomorrow, and I am glad for that.
I am so proud of my girls for making it through the entire book together. It was something I truly enjoyed doing with them each day. I cannot wait to pick out a new book to read together! It was really a special memory made for all of us. I can't wait until Clara is old enough to enjoy special moments like these.