Ittybit was pleased with herself. More accurately, she was pleased with the paper doll her teacher at the Marilla Cuthebert Academy for Unspeakably Charming Children had given her to decorate, which she promptly named after herself and painted pink.
"Look, mama! It's me. Only I don't have a sheep. And I don't have blue eyes. And my hair's not that long. ... But it's ME!"
Having an artwork doppleganger is not easy, though. These characters are incredibly hard to work with; you can't hang them on the wall with the other artwork (that would be uncomfortable) and transportation - since they must travel wherever we go - is an issue because they are incredibly fragile and prone to tears and creases.
But trek with her we must as the Flat Ittybit - like her literary cousin, Flat Stanley - enjoys looking out of the car window while we run errands.
"What?!? We can't leave her in the CAR when we go shopping! You never leave kids in the CAR!"
Thus Flat Ittybit has gone grocery shopping with us; she's gone to the park and to play dates. Sometimes she's had to stay in the car but we've been diligent in checking in on her and never straying too far.
When the mother of her pen-pal (a nice little girl named Jaylene in Taiwan) saw a recent photograph of Flat Ittybit and suggested we mail her overseas for a visit, I knew it was going to be a tough sell.
"I don't want to send her away. I want to keep her here."
"I know. ... But don't you think it would be fun to send a Flat Ittybit for a vacation? She could pretend to be you and then your pen-pal friend will take her to all the places she loves and send you pictures.
"No! It would NOT be fun. I do NOT want to send her away."
With that she began to cry.
"Ok, ok. Don't worry. We won't send Flat Ittybit away. ... In a few years, when you understand, maybe we'll send her sightseeing."
She stopped crying.
"What don't I understand?"
"It's a project," I say, emphasizing the magic word. "It would be like YOU were traveling and seeing the sights. Your friend could even send you a Flat Jaylene, and we could take her to all the places YOU like to go."
"Like Hoffman's Playland?"
"Well, Hoffman's is closed for the season."
"How about the zoo?"
"Well, we won't be near a zoo for a while."
"This doesn't sound very good, mom."
"How about the state museum? We could take Flat Jaylene to ride the carousel."
"That would be fun."
"We could bring her to your dance class."
"That WOULD be fun. Let's do it. Let's send her to Wantai."
"Oh, right." >
And with that we agreed to send Flat Ittybit to Taiwan. The problem now will be making sure she has comfortable accommodations for the trip.
"Let's make a hole in the envelope, mama. Then she can have a window seat."
Stay tuned. ...