Molly’s favorite book right now is Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale. Today alone, we read it to her six times, and each time she asked for more. She loves this book.
Molly loves big books with lots of fun pictures, and this is indeed a big book with lots of fun pictures. But she also seems to enjoy the actual story, which she can probably relate to. In the story, a toddler girl named Trixie goes on an errand with her dad and ends up with a personal crisis on her hands which only she sees and which she tries desperately to communicate to her dad. Trixie screams and cries and yells things like “AGGLE FLAGGLE KLABBLE!” She is frustrated and sad but doesn’t have the words to tell her dad what is wrong. Eventually, they figure it out, and in a toddler happy ending, Trixie says her first words ever.
Trixie is a good stand-in for Molly, who spends a fair amount of her time frustrated and unable to tell us (bone-headed) adults exactly what is wrong. Molly’s version of “AGGLE FLAGGLE KLABBLE!” is “AGGIE!” She’ll yell “AGGIE!” or sometimes “HAGGIE AGGIE!” adamantly, over and over, often pointing at something which either cannot be specifically located or has no inherent meaning to us. That said, one time during a bath, we successfully narrowed “Aggie” down to a bottle of Claire’s strawberry-scented shampoo. But Molly did not want the shampoo when I offered it to her. In fact, she tried to slap it to the ground. What did she want us to do with it exactly? Further, “Aggie” is a mercurial term; once you have it pinned down to a bottle of shampoo, it changes into something else, such as “something on the shelf over there, dammit!” The thing on the shelf cannot be specifically located, though, and besides, from our perspective, nothing on said shelf can possibly have anything to do with anything. But that is just our crusty old adult logic, I guess. Maybe that stack of paper on the shelf is the key to Molly’s happiness. Maybe she wants to build a paper airplane or write a thank you note… Maybe a thank you note to Mo Willems for writing Knuffle Bunny, a book that really “gets” frustrated toddlers.