I was lying in bed this morning, wishing that my brain would let me sleep past 7 a.m., when the Potato walked into our room and asked if he could have a cuddle. I pulled the blankets aside, and after a few minutes of whispering and wiggling (landisdad, to his credit, does not have a brain that insists that he wake up early even when it’s not a work day), he toddled out of the room to get a book.
He came back in with a book I had recently gotten him from the library—Porcupine’s Pajama Party, or something like that–and proceeded to tell me the whole plot, as he had read it the previous night. Then he left again, and came back with Horton Hatches the Egg. As I sat there watching him read, I realized that the thing I’m most thankful for, this Thanksgiving, is that both of my kids have inherited my love of reading.
The Bee, on a daily basis, is almost late for school because she’d rather read than get dressed. She walks to her safety post, and then pulls a book out of her backpack and stands on the corner reading it, stopping only to help younger kids cross the street. As an inveterate reader myself, I never thought this was a particularly noteworthy behavior—until many other parents in the school made comments to me about how much they like seeing her there, reading, which made me realize that none of the other safeties do it.
She went through a phase of trying to read Jane Austen a few weeks ago, and it warmed my heart to see her wanting to make sense of a book that’s a few years out of her reach—she’d gotten the idea from reading some other book where the main character (a 12-year-old girl) read Emma & Pride & Prejudice. Ultimately, she didn’t make her way through the dense thicket that Austen can construct, but she also didn’t hate it—just wants to try again in a year or two.
The Potato has also turned into an adept reader. He’s moved into early chapter books—lots of Nate the Great and Little Bear. I was a little worried, for a while, about his ability to concentrate long enough to consume a whole text, but his ability to focus on lego construction should have assuaged those fears. He’s not yet the book addict that the Bee is, but I think he just might get there.
I’m glad that we’ll always have this to connect us. I like to read about life in Jo(e)’s house, and imagine what my living room will look like in 6 or 7 years–and I’m always hopeful that I too will have a living room full of laptops and literate kids.