Before Liam was born, we bought and borrowed a number of books about getting a new sibling, and they really seemed to help Benjamin understand what was going on. So, last year, as we started to prepare for our astonishingly adventurous move abroad, I wanted to get a book to help with that change, but I couldn’t find anything that was really appropriate. So I wrote one for him. It was short and simple, and it explained all of the changes he would be experiencing over the coming months. I explained about how our things would get packed, the movers would come, we’d say goodbye to our house, we’d stay at Grandma’s for a while and then we’d go to the airport. I explained about how Bailey would ride in a crate (but would still be on our airplane, even though we couldn’t see him), how he’d get to watch tv, eat and sleep on the plane. I explained about finding a new house here, having our things delivered (luckily I didn’t specify a time frame) and how we’d make friends, travel and have visitors while we were here. He loved his book then, and he still loves it now.
Benjamin is a very bright child. He amazes us with how much and how quickly he learns, the extent of his memory, and the surprising things he picks up without ever actually having to be taught (he informed us tonight, for example, that the letter “O” is a circle, but can sometimes be an oval). But, he doesn’t always handle change well. We’ve discovered, over his 3 1/2 years, that the better he understands what is going to happen, the more adaptable he is. Hence the book. I wanted to let him know what to expect so that as little about our transition as possible would take him by surprise — and it worked really well.
In hindsight, I really wish I’d done a book for him before he started going to school. Now that I’ve thought of it, I know it would have been a perfect way to prepare him. I mentioned that to him the other night when we were reading his original “big adventure” book. Now he’s decided that he needs to have a book about going to school. He & I sat down and talked about what should be in the book — I recorded our conversation so I’ll be sure to get everything.
So, there will soon be a second story in Benjamin’s custom book library. I just need to write it — and illustrate it, of course (with my crayon stick figures). I’m wondering if it will be a help to him now, even though he’s already used to going to school. I hope so. And I hope I think of writing another one, the next time something new comes up.