For the past month, Margaret has been playing a predictable game of make-believe.

“Mommy, pretend that you do not see me.  I will be Annabelle.  Ask me where I came from.”

“OK.”  [long silence followed by Margaret making some subtle sound to get my attention.] “Oh, Hi,” I say,”Who are you?”

“I’m Annabelle.”

“Hi Annabelle, nice to meet you.  Where did you come from?”

“I came from Haiti.  My mother and father died in the earthquake.”

“Oh Annabelle, I’m so sorry to hear that!  Do you need a new family?” I ask, gently touching her arm.

“Yes,” she says quietly, corners of her mouth turned up in a smile.

“Oh, Annabelle, we have been wanting a big sister for our little girl, Caroline.  Would you like to be my daughter?  I am a very loving Mommy, and our house is cozy and warm.  There are no earthquakes here in Michigan because our state does not lie on a fault line.  Would you like to join our family.”

“Yes,” she says quietly, and then carefully outstretches her arms towards me for a hug, as if doing so onstage during a ballet rendition of The Sound of Music.”

A colleague mentioned that some scholars discourage teaching children as young as 3 to read because it decreases the agility of their memories.  not reading heightens one’s skills…