Reading: It’s Not for Sissies

19 08 2010

We have a bedtime routine. Most parents of small children do, as it’s the only way to maintain some tiny semblance of sanity. The very end of the routine involves reading a chapter out of the children’s scripture reader (because I’m such a great mom), having family prayer (see previous great mom comment), and reading a book. Then I have to swing the boys to their bedroom, because Big G is borderline OCD and if I don’t swing him, the next hour will be spent listening to a total meltdown.

I digress. I want to focus on the part where we read a book. I love books. And by love, I mean “I would wither up and die without books.” I want to share that love of reading with my boys, but some nights it’s so hard to make it through an entire book without collapsing on the floor in defeat.

What, you need an example? I just happen to have one from last night, when Big G picked “Go, Dog. Go!” as his bedtime story.

For easier readability (and because I’m too lazy to keep typing dialogue tags), I’m going to put my comments in regular type, and Big G’s comments in italics.

“Big dog. Little dog.”
Why is the big dog sitting down?
Because he’s tired.
Why is he tired?
I don’t know.
Is he tired because he’s so big and heavy?

“Big dogs and little dogs. Black and white dogs.”
Does he weigh a lot and that’s why he’s tired?
*sigh* Yes.

“Hello!” “Hello!” “Do you like my hat?” “I do not.”
Why doesn’t he like her hat?
I don’t know.
But why? Why doesn’t he like her hat?
He doesn’t like flowers.
Oh. Okay.

“One little dog going in. Three big dogs going out.”
Why is the little dog going in and the big dogs going out?”
Because they are.
But…

***At this point I actually read 2 pages without interruption. And the angels sing.***

“Some big dogs and some little dogs going around in cars. A dog out of a car.”
Why is the dog out of his car?
Because it doesn’t work.
Why doesn’t it work?
It’s broken.

“Two big dogs going up. One little dog going down.”
Why are the big dogs going up and the little dog going down?
The little dog got on the roller coaster before the big dogs.

“The green dog is up. the yellow dog is down.
Why is the green dog up and the yellow dog down?
The yellow dog weighs more than the green dog, so his bucket is lower.
The yellow dog is a really big dog!
Yes. Yes he is.

I could keep going, but I think you get the idea. By the end of the book, I’ve convinced Big G that all the dogs drive red cars because they bought them from the same dealer, the bird is crossing the street because he’s on his way to work, and if you eat your boogers you’ll get sick because they’re full of germs. That last one might be unrelated to the actual book reading. We’ve also had a five-minute discussion on the dogs sleeping, the one dog who doesn’t sleep, and why there’s a dog still asleep when all the other dogs are awake. (I tried to tell him it’s because he stayed up too late and now he can’t get up and have fun with all the other dogs, but Big G wasn’t buying it.)

Reading a book with Big G has become an endurance challenge.

I suddenly understand where Bill Watterson was coming from when he wrote the Calvin and Hobbes strips featuring Calvin’s dad explaining various concepts:

As much as I always loved Calvin and Hobbes, I never expected to be living it.

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12 responses

22 08 2010
Stefani

how old is he again? Sounds just like my son last year. . .such a fun, yet absolutely frustrating phase 🙂

22 08 2010
Esther

I read that same book to my little ones this week. Almost the same kind of dialogue went on. Hilarious. I love how you remind me all the time that I am not the only one going through crazy days and nights with kids!!! Thanks for making me laugh once again.

21 08 2010
Peter

Jenny, you need Big G to learn your standard answer to every question: Communists. It would work great. Why do all dogs drive red cars? Communists.

20 08 2010
Mimi

When I try to read to Colin he writhes around and tries knocking the book away… things don’t bode well for the future.

20 08 2010
hairyshoefairy

Yeah. My daughter constantly asks, “What kind?” To everything. EVERYTHING! It’s maddening. That comic is hilarious.

20 08 2010
Booyah's Momma

This is classic. We have nightly endurance challenges ourselves in the reading department. Fortunately, my daughter’s getting to the stage where she’s started memorizing her favorite books, so she “reads” some of them to me. I know better than to interrupt her story telling, though.

19 08 2010
Van Gessel

YES!! Vengeance is mine, saith the Grandpa!!

19 08 2010
Christopher (AKA: CaJoh)

All of the people I read to don’t normally ask a lot of questions. The closest is insisting that I point out all of the people and animals in a picture.

I mostly now only read to my wife to which she usually falls asleep by the middle of the chapter.

19 08 2010
Janice

I swear Big G and Ava are long-lost siblings. I had a conversation with Ava in which I just ended up shouting “I’m the master of the universe, that’s why.” Which really shows how mature I am and how much patience I have. Ava does that while we’re reading and it drives me crazy…I’m like, “Do you want me to finish the book or not?”

19 08 2010
La Yen

We will never introduce our children to each other.

19 08 2010
Mom

As I’m reading your experience (I can’t see the cartoon below) and I think, “The guy who created Calvin and Hobbes must have had a child just like Big G!”

19 08 2010
Amanda

This sounds a lot like me during football games. “Why is he doing that?” “how come the game stopped?” “What is their mascot? Why?” “What’s he mean by safety?” and so on and so forth.

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