Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Book Tales (chapter one)

When Buddy was a baby I told my friend, Jackie, that I hoped he grew up to love dinosaurs.  It seemed every really smart child I knew loved dinosaurs.  If they could memorize all those long names and pronounce paleontologist at the age of two, well then they must be smart. 

I know hate is a strong word, but six years after making that comment, I now hate dinosaurs.  I don't care if a love of dinosaurs is a mark of a smart child.  I have officially lost my patience for dinosaurs and I wish my kids hated them too.  Unfortunately, they don't.

Buddy showed an interest in dinosaurs very young.  So we bought him all sorts of books.  (This was obviously before I realized how much I hated them.)  He would want me to spend hours reading dinosaur encylopedias until I was literally bored to tears.

Well, guess who else is turning into a lover of dinosaurs?  Yep-Sambo.  Today when Buddy left for school I asked Sambo if he wanted me to read him a story.  He quickly went upstairs and got a dinosaur picture book.  I silently groaned, and told him to go get another book too, hoping he'd come back with a story.  A few minutes later he came down with the dinosaur encyclopedia.  I can't imagine why an active toddler would want to sit and listen to facts and figures about prehistoric creatures that I can't even pronounce.  But 15 minutes later G called and invited us to lunch thus saving me from more dinosaur hell/reading. 

* * *

I've been taking the boys to story time at the library once a week to get Sambo out of the house and to do something he enjoys.  And so I can learn some new rhymes, which I hope will help him learn to talk.  The story time is designed for children three and younger.  Buddy has to tag along, and is by far the oldest child there.  He doesn't mind, though, and spends the entire time shouting out the answers (questions designed for 2-year olds). Every week I prepare him and remind him that this is for his brother and he can participate, but he needs to stand in the back and allow the younger kids to say the answers.  He loves every minute of it and is so engaged he can't help himself from yelling things out. 

Sambo is another story.  He doesn't have any fun at all.  He sits cowardly on my lap the entire time and refuses to make eye contact with the teacher.  For the first time he actually left my lap today to go listen to a story (about a dog), which was a huge miracle.  It's important to note, Sambo is most definitely not shy.  I have no idea what his problem is.  Even the teacher told me today that he's very "quiet" -- and I kid you not, she said he's the type to be class "valedictorian."  That made no sense to me, and is far from the truth, and I'm still laughing.

All this story time business reminds me of when Buddy was a baby.  We were always bored at home, so I started taking him to baby story time when he was six months old.  All of us moms bounced our babies and sang silly songs.  Buddy loved it, but a few months into our weekly routine, he was crawling all over the place pulling books off the shelf and having nothing to do with the "baby time."  He could not be re-directed, but I saw all sorts of older babies there quietly and happily engaged.  So I stuck with it and we went almost every week for a year -- thinking any day he'd start to learn the routine and sit in the circle like the rest of the babies.  By the time he was about 18 months the teacher pulled me aside and told me some children "learn with their hands and feet" and story time might not be the most effective use of my time.  I was mortified to say the least and actually was a little offended.  It was BABY story time, for crying out loud.  Needless to say, I never went back and actually several years later and a library re-model later, I've never returned to that particular library.  When he was almost three I started going to story time again but at a different library.  He was still crazier than most children, but at least story time at the new library was/is more interactive. 

This is the library I'm taking Sambo too and he doesn't like interactive -- go figure.

One interesting note to this story is that first librarian, as untactful as she was, hit the nail on the head with Buddy's learning style.  He does learn with his hands and feet and passive learning is extremely ineffective for him.  Circle time in Kindergarten is proving to be just as torturous. 

Now I have a couple deep questions.  Is story time the most effective use of my time with son #2?  And why are my kids so unconventional that neither of them just follow along with the routine of library story time?

* * *

I read the "Kite Runner" about three years ago and it became my favorite book.  Since that time I have been begging G to read it because I knew he'd love it.  I've begged and pleaded and even gave it to him for Christmas one year.  He down-right refused unless I read some marriage book he really liked.  I don't like reading marriage books, so we were at an impasse.  The other week we were lounging around on a Sunday afternoon and I suggested he just read the first chapter to see what he thought.  He sighed dramatically, walked upstairs and got it off the shelf.

A few hours later he was totally unresponsive to the rest of the family because he was so into the book.  He stayed up pretty much all night reading, went to work that Monday, and by that night he had finished it.  We requested the author's other book "A Thousand Splendid Suns" from the library and he had that one finished by the next week.

And now he's lent our copy of the "Kite Runner" to all his work friends and encouraged everyone he knows to read it.

All I have to say is booyah.  I knew he'd like it.


Nicki said...

I don't know what to tell you about Sambo and the library - I would give it a couple more weeks at least. Or maybe even try taking just him - Buddy can come play at my house for an hour or so :)

And if you want a good book to read - I haven't read it yet but Ben LOVED Three Cups of Tea - very inspirational.

Myndi said...

I loved both Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns. I actually liked A Thousand Splendid Suns a little bit more, you'll see why.