I already mentioned how one of the many things I appreciate about my dear mother is that she instilled in me a deep love for reading. Because I love it so, it has been something that I’ve wanted to pass down to my kids as well. I get a rush when the boys spend time flipping through the pages of their books, and it’s not just because of the peace and quiet that usually accompanies that act. Books are the doorway to other worlds.
In the early years, they rely on us to read to them. Most (OK, some) of the time I enjoy doing that. However, a battle wages inside when they constantly want me to read, and I would like to move on to other things, like relieve my bladder. They could have me read to them for hours. While I love their love of being read to, I also love having full use of my voice which would wear to a whispery nothing if they had their way. They would also go through phases where they’ll pick the same exact book every night. After the umpteenth consecutive reading of “Green Eggs and Ham,” we are begging for any other book before we have nightmares and can’t get the “not in a box, not with a fox” chorus out of our heads.
We are still in the frightening post-school, pre-camp days so I drug both kids to the mall this week. To make it bearable for them and me, we made a list of things we needed to accomplish on one of their notepads:
1) Go to mall.
2) Get Daddy’s shoes.
3) Get Grandpa’s pants.
4) Get Grandpas’ Father’s Day cards.
5) Go to bookstore.
They could take turns crossing out each task once done and if they managed to get through tasks 1-4 with me with minimal complaints, whines and injuries, then #5 could provide them each new reading material. (Yes, I love lists and crossing things off. Yes, despite that Type A habit I am also a procrastinator doing my Father’s Day shopping the week after Father’s Day.)
It worked like a charm. They each picked a book with my help. Having had a couple Junie B Jones books from school, I thought Ethan might also enjoy the Magic Tree House series. He picked one out. I wish I had a picture but he was totally walking the path from Barnes & Noble to Nordstrom with pages open, head down. Despite him running into shoppers, plants, and directories, it was a beautiful sight to see.
I rarely shop for myself these days period but especially with both kids in tow. Why bother torturing us all? But I thought I could try to browse the shoe section if I timed it with their snack time. I had grand dreams of moving beyond my Old Navy flip flops.
I browsed the shoe section and could not find anything cheap enough or cute enough. When I returned to what I thought would be their great relief, Ethan said, “Keep looking!!” In case you didn’t get that, ETHAN SAID, “KEEP LOOKING!!” He was busy reading and did not want to move. By the time we drove from the suburban mall to our city abode, Ethan had finished the book.
The next day, in efforts to keep up with his voracious appetite, we headed to the library. He picked out two more Magic Tree House books. (Now I know why there are so many in a series.) As soon as we got home, he read the first one.
This morning I thought I heard the boys get up early, but then it was silent for so long afterwards that I thought maybe I was dreaming. I wasn’t. Ethan read his 3rd book in 3 days this morning.
I am thrilled. Ethan may love reading as much as his mama does. And he can do so INDEPENDENTLY! YES! I realize though that he could be reading horrible content and I would have no idea because I am not the one reading it to him. So if you have any actual familiarity with the Magic Tree House books, please do share. I guess it would be nice to know if he’s reading about devil worship, but really I think I could take a devil or two for this grand new stage of life. It’s a beautiful thing. Here’s to books, reading, and relieving my bladder whenever I like!