Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Old Block Is Just a Mass of Chips

Part of the reason I am so excited about Lauren's declaration that reading is her favorite part of kindergarten is that this makes it a clean sweep for the girls as far as reading goes.

Tabitha has always loved books, even as a baby. Kim and I read to both girls when they were far too young to understand even the concept of "stories" and all they knew was that whenever the page turned, something new appeared. This was enough. As Tabitha got older, books became her comfort device - she would smack into a wall or experience momentary exposure to Barney or have some other minor childhood trauma, and we would have to go read stories for a while to calm down.

These days Tabitha almost always has her nose stuck in a book, a trait she gets from both Kim and me and one we encourage. Her most recent addictions include the Emily Windsnap series (about a junior high girl who discovers one day that she is a mermaid - you would think this sort of realization would occur to people earlier in their lives, but the ability to overlook the obvious is a crucial plot device in a surprising number of stories), a series about dragons, and anything even remotely connected to Ripley's Believe It Or Not.* These seem to have replaced the unending Warriors series, though that might simply be a mirage brought on by limited time.

Warriors, for those of you new to YA literature, is essentially a combination of The Lord of the Flies and The Guiding Light, only with cats. There is probably a lesson in that somewhere, but for the life of me I don't know where it might be.

The remote loses out...

We live in a house full of books. There isn't a single room that doesn't have at least half a dozen of them lying about, and most have more. Some of this is my own personal preference - when I have extra money, that's pretty much what I buy - and some of it is a parenting choice. I want the girls to be surrounded by books, to know that there isn't anything they can't or shouldn't read, and to pick up and devour whatever strikes them.

Tabitha has long since claimed all of my old Garfield books.

At night we give the girls "minutes" - time after bedtime stories, when they are allowed to read on their own for a while before the lights go out officially. We always say that they can have 5 minutes, or sometimes 10, but in practice it usually comes to 15 or 20. They think they're getting away with something when that happens. Heh-heh-heh.

One of the many things that make me happy about Tabitha and Lauren is that they both regard a trip to a bookstore as a treat and a reward. I hope they never lose that.


* I sympathize with this Ripley's obsession. When I was a bit older than Tabitha, I used to bike up to Ardmore, where the book stores were, and invest my meager holdings in one or another volume in that series, along with a 2lb bag of peanut M&M's, and that would be my day. It is small wonder that I turned out the way I did.

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