Wednesday, April 4, 2012

... i've got tears in my ears...

Anyone who knows me knows that more than almost anything else I love books. And music. And instruments. And.... but mostly books. I blame/thank my parents. And I'm passing the same curse on to the girls. At least I hope I am. We'll see if they continue to love them as much as they seem to now. Who knows if books will survive another 30 years (I suspect they will). Or if K&L will care about them (I hope they will). At the moment we're still reading to them, every night. And K is doing a bit of reading herself, when we ask her to.

L loves to go off and sit with a book. She "reads" aloud, making up the story as she goes, keeping more or less to the plot as she understands it ("And the bird thaid to the lady bug, 'Where are you going?' and the lady bug said, 'I don't know, where are you going?' and the bird said 'I'm going home. Because I'm going home to see my home. Because I'm going home.' And the lady bug said 'Oh. I'm going home too.'").

M reads to L most evenings and I read to K. This has evolved because L hasn't been interested in what K&I are reading. And it's nice because both M and I get some quiet time alone with one child.

K and I have been reading the Little House series, having had them recommended (and loaned) to us by a neighbor. And it's been a great experience for a number of reasons.

  1. it's given me a break from needing to come up with Belle stories
  2. it's given us a lot to talk about (K: What's a corset Daddy? me: Let's look it up tomorrow on the internet.) (recommendation: don't google "corset" while your 5yo daughter is sitting next to you. some *interesting* images come up, and those are the ones she's going to want to see.)
  3. it's been a bonding experience. Together K and I have been through rough winters with Laura and Mary, moves via wagon from Wisconsin to Indian Territory ("What's a pappose?"), wolves and panthers ("It jumped on top of the horse? What happened to the horse?" "Uh, it was fine. It just got a little scrape."), Christmases with few presents, pigs and cows and calves and slaughtering of calves ("What? Where did the meat come from?" "Uh, from the calf." "What calf?" "Uh... one of the calves..." "But not their calf, right Daddy?" "Probably not their calf.")

Most recently we started reading On the Shores of Silver Lake, and let me tell you, that one starts with a wallop.

(spoiler alert - if you have not read these and intend to, you shouldn't be wasting your time with a blog that hardly ever gets new posts)

In the first 5 or 6 pages, we learn that almost the whole fan damily has had scarlet fever and that Mary is blind and there's a new baby and Pa's going to move out west to work on the railroad and it's been 5 years and 2 bad wheat crops and... then Jack dies! Jack, who's managed to walk under the wagon from Wisconsin to Indian Territory, survive a raging river that sweeps him away, to put up with being chained to the log cabin (because he chases Indians), protect everyone from wolves and strangers, walk under the wagon back to Minnesota and then wait out Pa's multiple trips east to work on the crop harvest... that Jack. Jack, Laura's best friend. He can't face another trip and he hasn't gotten the attention he deserves because everyone's been ill and Laura hasn't had the time/energy and she realizes this and fluffs up his bed and he goes to sleep and dies.

I'll confess that it was hard for me to read out loud. It would have been hard enough to read by myself, silently, but here I was supposed to be communicating words, aloud, to my impressionable daughter. It didn't help that we still talk about missing Lucy. Not that she would have measured up to Jack (she would have been sitting right in the center of the wagon seat, pushing Ma off in one direction and Pa off in the other), but she was our beast and we loved her.

So I choke up, multiple times, and K leans in close and cries quietly with me and together we manage to get through it, though I realize about 5/6th of the way into this section that it probably would have been a smart idea to do some slight, on-the-fly editing. Live and learn.

The books, the subject matter, has been growing older as Laura grows older. And I've been taking the approach that my parents generally took, which was that if I was old enough to be interested in something, I was old enough to read it. Obviously K isn't yet reading these (though she's reading bits and pieces from the pages), but I'm pretty much letting her hear them as they were written. There been some reference to "rough men" and "rough language" and "horse thieves." We'll see where this takes us, but for the time being it's gotten us snuggled together every night after bath to read for 20-30 minutes, a wonderful shared time that I suspect I get as much out of as does she.

(happy b-day mom!)

No comments: