6.22.2006

This and That

Recently I wrote a little about my surviving hydrangea. At the time the flower buds were beginning to emerge - some already well formed clusters of small flowers appearing in pale green. Now the color has begun to creep in. I had promised a photo of the progress:
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On another topic - why is it that people who have no qualms wearing shorts that are too short for them and clothes that are too tight, won't put on a swimsuit? I mean really. The fitted shirt and the really (I mean really!) short shorts leave little more to the imagination than a bathing suit would. Or, even more mind numbing, why would a former acquaintence of the family go to a nude beach without thinking twice. (And yes, she followed the "when in Rome" adage.) Yet won't allow herself to be seen in a swimsuit without her shorts on and forbid any photography near her, let alone of her. Am I the only one baffled by this?
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Yet another thing - Monday I went to the bookstore. I wanted to buy a book. For Logan. But not a kids book. I wanted to buy a classic piece of fiction now considered a 'kids' novel. We had always planned on reading these sort of books with Logan and yet for some reason I hadn't gotten around to starting. Then someone in a parenting group I belong to asked for suggestions of titles and authors.

It was one of those moments where you realize the little light bulb that is supposed to go off in your mind must need to be replaced. Here was my child, at a prime age for starting the tradition we've been waiting on for so long...and we'd not yet thought to actually start it.

The truth is Logan reads. He reads more than he realizes, or at least more than he admits. He won't, however, read a book on his own. Or at least he hadn't been. He's been afraid. He's been afraid that no one will read to him again if he can read to himself.

Thus the big books. We started one from the collection of books my dad once read to me, The Wind and the Willows. I'm not sure if Logan enjoys the book or enjoys the time - but regardless he asks eagerly for it each night. Since we've been reading this comparatively large book, he's begun reading his 'early reader' books *to* us. He reads some sentences effortlessly, a reminder that he's been capable of doing it for over a year. Other's he takes pause over as he sounds out the letters to form words he's reading for the first time. He smiles when he's done. He's proud. It's been a wonderful to see it all come together for him in a way that he's anxious to share.

Which brings me to Monday.

Every gift giving occasion calls for a new book. Our kids get a book at Christmas, Easter, birthdays, heck we even toss in one at Halloween and Valentine's. Logan's birthday is next week. Time to buy a new book - although we hardly need the excuse. I think we buy books almost every time I get near a store that has them.

Ahh, I digress again.

So Monday I go into mega-book store looking for a good book for a young boy. I have several in my hands. I'm wavering on one - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl - mainly because I think we already have it at home. I ask the price on another book. The staffer tells me.

I ask her for suggestions on good titles. I explain why I'm looking. She asks his age. She scoffs at the notion that my soon to be 4-year old could handle the story. It's not a difficult story, mind you. Her concern is not that concepts will be over his head or it'll be much too violent. No, she's fretting over dialect.

But I'm reading it to him, I tell her. He's not reading it on his own. I mean hell, I can even adapt the conversations so the dialect doesn't throw him. She snickers some more. I leave with my the Dahl book instead.

I get home and find the Dahl book on my shelf.

Tuesday I return to mega-bookstore and hand the cashier the duplicate Dahl. "He already has it," I say to her simply. I consider walking back to the classics and selecting another book. Then I remember the sneering staffer. I leave and drive around the corner to the other mega-book store.

I find a staffer there - a retired school teacher - who is more than eager to help me find whatever it is my heart desires. I tell her what I'm looking for. I ask where the hardcover editions are - we're building a library, I say, I want sturdy books he'll cherish for a lifetime. She smiles. Her love of books is clear in the way she grins at me.

There. They do have the hardcover of The Jungle Book. Megastore one did not. The staffer here comes over. I've not asked input but she's eager to help me any way.

"That's a good one," she says. She points to another. The book Megastore 1 lady scoffed at. Tom Sawyer. "Oh, this one is good for young boys!" she says.

"I figured as much," I tell her smiling. "And some day I'd like to get him Treasure Island, but not yet. I'm not sure he's ready for all that. And I want Swiss Family Robinson and White Fang..."

She smiles at me again. A kindred spirit. "Sawyer is good," she tells me. "You know, if you were sending him off to read it on his own at 4 I'd say to wait a bit. But you're reading with him. Anything he doesn't get, you're there to explain it to him. He'll be fine. He'll love it."

I picked it up and thanked her. Before heading to the check out, I headed to another aisle - the one with the series of books Logan's been devouring lately. We read these with him too. The staffer was there before I was. She was pulling from this collection off the shelf. She looked at me for a moment and then leaned in close to whisper. "Don't buy that today. They're going on sale next week buy two get one free. Excellent books. I used to use them in my classroom."

I thanked her as put the book in my hand back. I'll be back next week to make my purchase. And then each gift giving season after.

5 comments:

Mandy said...

I have been trying to decide on some titles to start with Liam. What are the ones that will be on sale next week? Liam isn't ready for Tom Sawyer, but it won't be long.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

What a differance! I truly do not understand a bookstore not hiring knowledgable people...Big Mistake. I would never go back there.....especially since there is a second store close by that actually serves the public in a truly caring manner...Helpful is the word one would think would be the middle name of any sales person in a bookstore! Not so, I guess.

Yvonne said...

I'd forgotten about Wind in the Willows, thanks for the remind. There are so many classics out there that I want to share with J, though I do wonder if we'll get them all finished before he starts university.

Wordnerd said...

Glad you found a kind, intelligent presence at the second store. That would be my last venture into store #1.

And yay for you for introducing good books to him at a young age. I did the same thing and it has developed a love of reading in my daughter, who, by the way, was reading on a 4th grade level by first grade.

Nicole said...

Even after I could read, I loved being read to. I have a very vivid memory of a friend's mother reading us "The Secret Garden" in the cabin at fifth-grade camp. What a nice tradition to begin.

Another favorite of mine: Charlotte's Web.