“Bouncing, bouncing, panda on my knee; bouncing, bouncing, 1-2-3!”* I peeked around the doorframe to see my 3-year-old daughter with her stuffed panda, singing it a song I had sung to her and her brother over and over and gently bouncing it on her knee. I was delighted! Not only was she singing, she was playing with the lyrics, making them her own.
Fast forward two years, and I overhear my son singing while he’s playing with LEGOs, “Rain, rain, go away, Mia and Eli want to play…” We are definitely a singing household. I grew up learning folk songs as Dad accompanied us on guitar. My mom sings Christmas carols year-round while she does chores. The kids and I sing songs anytime we are driving in the car. They often request that I play songs by title.
When mom discovers the living room dripping with every imaginable color, she quickly determines the culprit and hides the art supplies. Her son exclaims, "I Ain't Gonna Paint No More!" Easier said than done.
One cannot simply quit creativity. Our protagonist reclaims his tools of expression. This time though, he is going to be the canvas. Things are about to get messy!
Pete the cat loves his white shoes. He loves them so very much that he sings about them. One day while he is walking and singing he steps in some strawberries and his shoes turn red. But instead of becoming angry, he sings about how much he loves his red shoes. When he steps in mud and his shoes turn brown, instead of becoming angry, he sings about how much he loves his brown shoes. The book Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin and illustrated by James Dean is a great picture book about a cat that "goes with the flow."
Pete's philosophy is summed up at the end by his statement that "no matter what you step in just keep walking along and singing your song."