Our washing machine recently went kablooey. Something about the motor burning out, or something. The new one would take a week to arrive, and since there are four of us, that would be just long enough for the piles of laundry to grow into mountains of laundry. Laundromat time!
Q: How do you do laundry, get work done and entertain your small child at the same time? A: You grab the laundry basket and your laptop, and you tell your daughter to pick out some books.
The Laundromat looked about the same as it had the last time I’d used it (when our dryer went kablooey). Mildly dingy at the edges, strangely silent except for the washers and dryers working. Not many chairs. Not overly interesting. We settled in the back.
My daughter is a really excellent bookworm-in-training. She sat politely through the wash cycle and the spin cycle, absorbed in her book. Then she looked up and discovered the fascinating things all around her. The rows of white and stainless steel machines. The sloshing whirring noises. The clothes swirling around through the glass doors. Suddenly the Laundromat was the coolest place she’d ever seen. She stood and watched one machine in motion for so long that the man using it asked me if we needed it. “No, she’s just watching,” I explained.
It was a useful reminder: Nearly anything is interesting to a child if they’ve never seen it before. So to write for children, you have to be able to see everything as interesting.
“The Laundromat is awesome!” said my daughter as we lugged the basket and detergent back to the car. And actually, it is.