Do Words. Not Drugs.

All four of my children write their own books now. Granted, the two-year-old treats the whole house like it's a manuscript waiting to be glorified by her wordy scribbles, but the other three are looking to have real potential. I can hardly take a step without the crumple of construction paper under my toes and a strangled shout of, "Hey! That's my book!"

Emma, our ten-year-old, writes melodramatic fairy tale retellings. My favourite is the story of her being transformed into Evil Bat Queen Emma by a magic potion and being saved by her best friend. A rich parallel for their real life friendship in which her BFF saved her from dwindling in social obscurity. Being without a best friend at the age of nine could be considered, in some circles, worse than being transformed into an evil bat queen.

Becca, age eight, has recently delighted/horrified us with her novella, "How the Vanderhorst Family Died - A (made up) Story by Becca Vanderhorst." It's the "made up" in parentheses that skeeves me out the most. Like she might remove that portion some day. Seriously. It's like the Children of the Corn up in here. Apparently I will die during a routine surgery, her father will fall off the roof, and her sisters will die from various forms of malnutrition or overeating.

I'm just saying, if this kid offers you kool-aid, maybe offer a polite "No thank you?"

Claira on the other hand, is writing stories with her sisters as main characters, all reimagined as heroes.

"Once upon a time Mommy was trapped. Then they dropped Mommy in the dungeon! Then the magic girls came to help. There was a magic girl named Emma. Emma got past the sharks. She’s really brave and strong at this!  I’m a magical girl who loves to snuggle, ‘cause that’s my power. Then Emma got past sharks and Claira’s pony tails glow in the dark! The End!"

So yeah, maybe there are a few plot holes that need patching, but still, pretty good for a four-year-old with the attention span of a highly-caffeinated Chihuahua.

As for me, I'm weaving new stories into an old one and plotting new ones on the side. I can pretty much close my eyes at any moment and see words superimposed on the dark behind my eyelids. That's my parenting philosophy in a nut shell. Yes, I'll teach my kids not to do drugs. But more importantly, I'll teach them to do WORDS. Now there's an addiction worth cultivating.
VanderVision Tip of the Day: Do words, not drugs. Words are awesome.


  1. This warms my heart. I wish mine liked to write. They like math. It's one of the greatest tragedies of my life.

  2. I love this, Kim. And I think my favorite is Claira's... :P