After almost four years of watching Sooby play and pretend, I have wondered many times what she will be when she grows up. A singer? She loves music. A teacher? She loves to learn new things. A sumo wrestler? Well, let's just say that at this point the possibilities seem endless.
In the case of Pooh, however, there is absolutely no question. Entertainment industry, prepare yourself. Academy Award Committee, polish up the Oscar. Pooh is going to be an actor.
This revelation came to me the last time he visited Googie's house. We had just read 101 Dalmatians for the umpteenth time. Stuffed puppies lay helter-skelter all over the toy room. For Pooh, the stage had been set and the props were in place. He grabbed his green John Deere cap and pulled it menacingly over his eyes. "You be Jasper," he said to me, "and I'll be Horace."
Pooh was wanting us to assume the roles of the two bumbling dog nappers in the well-loved Disney classic. Horace and Jasper are the accomplices of the sinister and flamboyant Cruella de Vil, dog thief extraordinaire. Cruella, of course, dispatches her helpers to steal Dalmatian puppies for entirely selfish reasons. Our storybook says she wants to sell them to the circus, but it doesn't take much imagination to see that she wears a fur coat and may well have an ulterior motive. Even Sooby and Pooh can put two and two together and recognize this.
It was amazing to watch Pooh assume the character of Horace. The second he donned the cap, he narrowed his eyes, set his jaw, and puffed out his lips. He crossed his arms in front of him and shifted his weight to his right leg. Then, in a voice as deep and gruff as a two-year-old can muster, he said, "Now give me those puppies--now!"
For the few minutes that followed, the Pooh that we know and love was gone. In his place was Horace. Horace worked efficiently, gathering up puppies and stacking them on my lap. "There, Jasper," he said. "Take these puppies to Co-ella." Even Stanislavski would have been impressed.
I have heard the theory that work aptitudes can show themselves early in children while at play. It is up to us adults, then, to watch for the signs and encourage these propensities. If this is true, I have no doubt what the future holds for Pooh. He is going to be an actor.
Or, perhaps, a dog thief.