It is a late afternoon in the Spencer house. M is still at work and expected home for a late dinner, the girls request a CD of traditional folk music. They are finishing a snack and L (3) decides to get down and begins to dance. “I am the dancing girl,” she tells me as she twirls around, her arms outstretched. G (4.5) finishes her snack and they move to the living room to continue their dancing. F (15 months) crawl-scoots her way after them to join in the fun.
When I peak into the living room I see F standing and squealing next to the couch and the older two wearing paper moose antlers that they made at a library story hour holding hands and spinning themselves around the room. Since they all seem content, I grab an article I want to read and sit down in one of the wingback chairs. G, excited by my presence, says, “You are the one watching our dancing! See the way my shirt swirls out so cutely when I twirl!” L and F are interacting next to the couch. F had been wearing a large wooden Rosary around her neck, and now L is holding it in her hands. She lunges towards F in attempt to put it around her neck, but F moves quickly to her hands and knees and crawls away to the bedrooms squealing with her big sister in pursuit. L comes back in without the rosary, but the baby has found something else to do in her sisters’ room.
“When the Saints Go Marching In” starts to play, and L sticks her legs out in a wild fashion, asking, “Is this marching?” I get up from my reading to demonstrate marching, and soon both older girls are laughing and doing something slightly resembling marching around the room. G then sticks her head on the floor and does a somersault. “Did I just do a cartwheel?” she asks excitedly. And I tell her she did not, but that she had done a somesault. L is curious and asks how to do it, but then decides to show me her version of skipping instead. It resembles a gallop. F crawls back into the room and sees me. She climbs onto my lap and thwarts any attempts I make at reading. My phone rings and it is my mom. I get up with the baby on my hip and answer the phone, leaving the older two to their world of imaginative play.