i was at the sink washing up some dishes when i turn around and see the Unreliable Narrator doing an interpretive dance behind me. yes, he still wants to be an acrobat in cirque du soleil, and his show will no longer be called “Gruyere” (as in the cheese), but “Cirque de la Lune” (circus of the moon).
these past few days HB has been sick so i’ve been flying solo with the UN. i notice an unfortunate tendency to snap at the UN when i’m feeling PMS-y, so i’ve been trying to take an extra breath and stay on an even keel, but lordy i am an INTJ at heart and the child’s an ESFP or whatever would be most opposite. (is meyers-briggs just astrology by another name?) plus there’s the natural inclination on the part of a four year old to want to be the center of mama’s attention, which clashes with mama’s inclination to want to pee in peace, without a 38-lb kiddo on her lap.
normally my philosphy of childrearing (such as it is) is to run them hard during the day so they’ll sleep well at night. and i mean literally run, or scooter, or bike or play tag–anything physical. but our cooking and feasting limited how much physical activity we did on thanksgiving and the past few days i’ve been on the verge of getting whatever HB has, and so have been trying to conserve a little energy. because the first law of parenting is, If In a Two-Parent Home, Only One Parent May Be Sick at a Time, subject to codicil 1: That Sick Parent May Never Be Mama. so it’s been a lot of indoor play for him.
18 hand-molded silicon bugs,
4 viewings of “La Nouba” (one of the better cirque du soleils in the 20th anniversary gift set),
and innumerable pages from “preschool alphabet tracing” and “preschool number tracing” workbooks* later,
he read the word “red” on my t-shirt–spontaneously and completely unprompted and uncoached by me!
now how poetic is that, to have “red” be the first word you ever read? literary mama me hugely approved. (couldn’t have hurt that it was half the title of a short film i made, and the t-shirt was a souvenir from that project. oh, and the letters in ‘red’ also appear in the latter half of his own name–but hey, i’m the mama and it’s my job to think my kid is Enormously Bright.)
as i was an early reader, i really AM excited for him being ready soon to read more and more. even though it’s pandora’s box opening, or biting from the fruit of the tree of knowledge, or whatever metaphor of dangerous knowingness you favor, being literate is magical.
* i’m not someone who “works” her child in the hopes of prodding him toward genius. not at all. slacker me is hoping to delay the onset of reading or telling of time for as long as possible, so that i might get away with the jedi mind tricks i use to shape the Unreliable Narrator’s reality for as long as possible.
me (glancing up at clock, pretending to read time–7:45 pm–with concern): oh, it’s late! bathtime right after dinner, and then to bed.
UN (unaware that most nights we and he dawdle and fool around til 8:30 pm before bathtime): oh! okay!
the grandparents firmly believe in pushing and they leave these workbooks lying around our house, and the Unreliable Narrator BRINGS THEM TO ME and pesters me to do page after page. usually when i am in the middle of trying to pull a coherent thought together for this NaBloPMo thingy.