I have this one beautiful mitten that my mom knitted for me a long time ago (the other one fell out of my car on the side of the street while I was Christmas shopping back when I had a car with a driver's side door that wouldn't open, and I had to climb in through the passenger door--this was when E and Z were tiny babies, and it went on for a good six or nine months, before I got a different car and passed my car on to C, who fixed the door handle the very weekend the car became his. But I'm not still bitter about that or anything).
Anyway, back to the mitten. Jan Brett books are a big hit at our house, and The Mitten has been a favorite since M was a baby and our neighbor gave him the board book version. I've thought for some time (probably for the last six years since I lost the other mitten) that it would be fun to make a play set to go along with the book. I thought of it again this winter. We had most of the animals, collected at various times over the years, but we lacked the mouse, the mole and the badger. I considered substituting other animals, but decided, what the hell, why not just buy the real thing and get it out of my system. The boys aren't getting any littler, and will probably not want to sit and listen to storybooks much longer anyway.
As soon as the new critters arrived in the mail, we read the book and the boys took turns putting the animals into the mitten at the right moments. It may be the only time we ever do it, but it was fun and it makes a cute little tableau (and now I won't look at that mitten every winter for the rest of my life and wish that I had done something with it).
We read about Imbolc (the ancient Celtic first day of spring which falls around February 1) last week and learned that the badger was the animal that people looked to as a harbinger of the coming season, but when the Europeans came to North America, they found badgers in short supply and instead substituted the groundhog (thus Groundhog Day). So now we have a little badger to encourage the arrival of spring.