While there is no actual carousel in Aspen, Emma has devised ways to bring the concept here nevertheless. As I write this, Emma is sitting downstairs where my mother has set up a toy carousel on a little table next to the Christmas tree. It has lights and plays music, which Emma sings to as she knows all the songs. The horses and animals move around as the lights flash and the music plays. Prior to our leaving for Aspen Emma said, “Go to Aspen, go downstairs for carousel.”
“That’s right Em. Granma keeps the carousel downstairs. We’ll need to bring it upstairs to the living room,” I said.
“Get Aspen carousel. Play on Granma’s carousel!” she said.
Now sitting in front of it, Emma said, “No Emma cannot sit on the carousel! It’s too small for Emma. Carousel for babies.”
“It’s too small for even a baby, Em. It’s a doll’s carousel,” I said earlier.
“It’s too small,” Emma agreed.
“Carousel all done,” Emma could be heard saying just now as the music on the little toy carousel abruptly ended.
The other “carousel” Emma loves is at the ARC. For those who have visited the Aspen Recreation Center, you will know there is no carousel. But Emma has created her own by sitting on a ball and allowing the current of the “lazy river” (a waterway with a current propelling the body around and around) to push her along as she sings “carousel” songs. “Go to the ARC? Go on the carousel?” she asked a few years ago.
Utterly confused we corrected her, “But Em, there is no carousel at the ARC. The carousel is in New York, we have to wait til we get back home.”
“Go on the Aspen carousel,” Emma insisted.
“We can try to find one, but I think we’ll have to drive a long way.”
“Aspen carousel,” Emma said matter-of-factly.
“Well let’s see if we can find one nearby,” we said in an attempt to placate her.
Eventually one of us figured out the connection when Emma said, “Go to carousel in indoor pool in Aspen.”
“You mean at the Rec Center?”
“Yes,” Emma confirmed, nodding her head.
“She must mean the lazy river,” one of us said.
The next time we came to Aspen, sure enough Emma raced over to the lazy river and, while balancing herself on a ball floated happily around and around while singing a medley of “carousel” tunes.
We have learned Emma is rarely wrong about such things. If she says there is a carousel at the Rec Center, then there must be something that to her represents a carousel.
There is one more carousel Emma likes “going on”. She runs around the kitchen island and sings, usually with the dogs joining in, which makes her run all the faster as she remains terrified of them. It is a catch-22, the faster she runs to get away from the dogs, the more they think it’s a tremendous new game. After a few laps, Emma will speed off to the safety of the upstairs where she knows the dogs will not follow her. Carousel derailed.
Last night during dinner, every time someone at the dinner table got up, Emma would scoot into their chair saying cheerfully, “Now sit in Uncle Victor’s chair!” or “Now sit in Granma’s chair!” It was a kind of impromptu musical chairs, which Emma devised regardless that no one else was in on the game nor was there music playing. While this was not another “carousel” game, at least Emma didn’t call it one, it did have similarities. Music, movement and silliness are Emma’s favorite things. It’s no wonder she loves coming out here. There are such endless possibilities.