I have the best job. Ever. My job title is something like Retail Sales Associate at Audrey’s Museum Store, which means I sell toys and books to people visiting Noah’s Ark at the Skirball. But really I like to call myself the Toddler Whisperer because I spend my days interacting with very young children. My measure of a good day isn’t how many sales I’ve had, but rather, how many of my “regulars” have come to visit. I have a whole pocketful of friends:
Jasper, my animal expert, knows everything there is to know about the wild kingdom. At four years old, he can identify a Xenops or a vole as readily as a pig and a cow (the latter two being alike because, as Jasper informed me recently, “they are both farm animals”). On one of his visits, he brought his most special animal book to share with me. I was expecting a small board book or a thin paperback. Out of his backpack came a heavy animal encyclopedia that must have taken quite a bit of effort for him to lug around. I was so happy that he wanted to share it with me. Together we sat and looked through it.
You can always tell when Aidan and his younger brother Connor are approaching the store. You hear the calls of “Shaaarrrooonnn! It’s my friend!” as Aidan enters the store and gives me a hug. Aidan likes to sit at our little “touch table,” where kids can feel free to play with select store goodies, and try out the toys. He often comes up with creative names for them.
Bella always greets me with a hug—and usually, with an “I miss you.” Last time she visited she told me I smelled like cream, which I think is a compliment. I felt like Mary Poppins.
Zoe and Griffin (pictured above) come almost every weekend. They stop in the store to check out the “touch table” and see what’s new and then head down to Noah’s Ark. When I ask for a hug from Griffin, he backs into my open arms. Zoe particularly likes to sit at the table, and I will often join her and play—although I learned not to sit in the other chair as apparently both chairs are hers.
Tiernan and his dad come regularly on weekends. When I ask where his mom is, Tiernan usually answers, “Doing paperwork.” We always have a very animated conversation in the store before he heads down to the ark to play.
And then there is Grover. He always comes in with a huge smile and a hug. Last time he came, he brought his grandma and another adult friend. When I greeted him with my usual “Hey Grover, how are you?” his grandmother turned to the surprised friend and said, “He’s a ‘regular’ here.”
So, there you have it: a little taste of what goes on at the Noah’s Ark Store at the Skirball. Stop by for a visit, a hug, a story, or a turn at the “touch table.” I look forward to seeing you!