My daughter is a strong girl. Actually her dad calls her “All girl with a fist” as a take-off of the better known “Stands With Fist” from the movie “Dances With Wolves”. Aptly named, when her brother suggested she do Amelia Earhart for her latest school report, a biography, she was very content. Kids in her class had picked the likes of Michael Jackson, Martin Luther King Jr., and Abraham Lincoln for their choice of a person who “made a difference in the world”. I struggled to gear her more toward a saint or a person of faith. The battle ensued until her brother recommended a strong female icon (we could call her “Flies with Fist!”), Amelia Earhart. A recent family favorite flick being “Night at the Museum 2; Battle for the Smithsonian”, this aeronautical wonder-woman, Amelia, was a character brought to life and made fun and adorable (played by the cute little Amy Adams from “Enchanted”, another family favorite.) It was a sure thing with my little Cirque. Amelia was to be the star.
We read over the several biographies and articles we gathered from the internet. I gave her a yellow highlighter (everything in the room began to glow yellow soon after), and we deciphered the 4-1-1. I asked if she wanted to present the information “in order” (meaning chronologically) and she said “NO!” Order is unappealing to my little Cirque, so we tried a creative approach. The most fascinating thing Little Cirque had read was one of the articles about Ms. Earhart’s disappearance. On the island where a white woman’s partial skeleton had been found, other items were later unearthed. Some of these items were an aluminum plank, plexiglass, and the heel of a woman’s boot, in the size Amelia would have worn. Seemingly make-shift tools for survival. Little Cirque wanted to start with the end of the story. “Why do you want to do that?” I asked, not sure how to go about guiding her. “Because…it is FASCINATING!” I laughed loud and hard at that. To hear that word from that little face with such precision and appropriateness!
We proceeded to pluck out sentence ideas and convey information (I would ask her “how would you say this?” and she would do her best to come up with sentences, that I would then partially edit). We came down to the last two facts of her backward introduction. “You need to say somehow that the island was near where she was last heard from, and that the boot is her size.” She pondered the ideas and we tossed around sentence structure “These items were found near the place where Amelia Earhart was last seen. The heel was from a boot of her own size. Were these the remains of the famous Amelia Earhart?” With that Little Cirque tosses her tiny little leg in the air and points her toes in a way even professional ballet dancers could not match and says “If the boot fits…..!!” Very little was accomplished after that. The report must wait for another day, until after the irony settles. Oh, Cirque.