(with apologies to Laura Numeroff, whose books I love, and with deepest affection for my Betsy.)
If you give a girl some lunch, she's going to ask for a book to go with it.
You'll read to her: stories about days of old, of pioneer girls and simpler times.
She'll push her empty plate aside and ask if she can get the Play-doh, just to keep her hands busy while you read. She'll pretend she's making bread from scratch and putting a cake in the oven. When she uses a certain cookie cutter on the Play-doh, she'll be reminded of a doll. She'll get her bean doll out (the one she made at the history club meeting) and decide that it needs a new dress.
She'll get your sewing box, some fabric scraps, and scissors and will start working on a dress. Her older sister will be reminded of how much she used to enjoy doing samplers, and she'll go to find an embroidery hoop. The littlest listener will not be reminded of anything but will want to get in on this action anyway. She'll ask for a needle, and you'll stop reading just long enough to consider this request. You'll reject it and promise to help her with a dress in a minute. She'll ask for scissors, too, the "not-sharp ones, Mommy." You get them and promise that you'll help her cut out a dress for her bean doll as soon as you finish this chapter.
As you continue reading, you'll see that the beans from the littlest listener's doll are falling out on the kitchen table. You'll finish the chapter, raid the sewing box, and patch up the bean doll. You'll cut out a dress for the doll and tie it on with a shiny ribbon. Then you'll put away Play-doh, plastic knives, fabric scraps, a sewing kit, stray beans, extra embroidery hoops, three pieces of felt, two bean dolls, a piece of yellow ribbon, a book and the lunch dishes.
The children will scatter and you'll be left alone in the kitchen.
But you'll sigh with contentment when you consider that the next time you make lunch, chances are, they'll want a book to go with it.