4:35 am

It’s Thursday. Like, Caloo-callay! (that’s jabber-talk, right there) It’s also 4:35 am. My wide-awakeness, guess I’ll choose to see it as a blessing and talk to the big, blue screen again. You know, if people 150 years ago were to hear that in the future you could wake up in the middle of the night, talk to a square in your room, and even expect response in some form from it, I bet they’d wanna see that pretty bad. I wonder if they’d be disappointed or awed by an iMac.

One of the things I did for Si’s b-day was to go to the Book Bin in Corvallis and hunt down some of the classic kids books that she’s frankly been missing out on. For me, this means older books. Maybe there’s some outstanding literature for youth that has come out more recently, but ‘The Magic Tree House’ series leaves me disappointed in the writing, and even her funny books that go through the grades and feature different crazy teachers, they lack a depth of narrative reflective of the absolute crap of Disney/Nickelodeon sitcom writing.

So I went and found some Great Brain books, some George Selden and James Howe and E.L. Konigsburg. I found Danny, Champion of the World by Roald Dahl, which is one of my all time favorite books and has a little more narrative depth than some of his wild romps through imagination, though I’m not dissing Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, or Freckle Juice by any stretch.

I wasn’t sure how she’d react to these books. I think I let it go too far, the Disney princess/Barbie phase. Let a kid subsist on a diet of crap culture, and they don’t really develop any discernment of what’s worthwhile and what’s bubblegum.

But the first story is going surprisingly well. I look forward to the two chapters of reading at night even more than she does now, it’s a pleasure to rediscover these books from my childhood. Rather than having her read (cus reading has been achievement oriented for so long) I’m having her just listen, listen to the story, something we haven’t done since she was seven, because the teachers at her school advocate the child doing the reading during reading time.

Again, balance, yeah? Being read to is a luxury of childhood, it’s a lot rarer when you reach adulthood. I want her to hear and to imagine. It’s also fun to use my expressions and imaginative voices to try and bring the stories to life. She’s been liking it so far. I’m so, so glad.

We might go on a snow vacation next week. I’m not sure. I haven’t yet managed to ‘feel’ Christmas, so an immersion in snow seems as good a last ditch effort to let this season in as anything.

Then again, I guess you don’t have to feel Christmas every year, just cus the calendar says to. When my brother and I were kids, there was always a certain amount of anxiety just in the fact that our parents were divorced, so Christmas time had to be split up somehow, and we were anxious about our dad who hadn’t remarried and had less family, but also we loved the big gathering and celebration at grandma’s house on our mother’s side, but you try not to show your preference.

I’ll never underestimate kids. Adults put on all these shows to try and make things seem simple for kids when they are really complicated, and half the time they don’t realize the kid is putting up a much more elaborate front for you, nearly all the time, to make their feelings appear simple and spontaneous, when they’re really staging and considering and balancing what reaction will be the best for everyone.


The cat is keepin’ on, though he trembled when I pet him this morning. I’ll be relieved to get him to the vet. He had a hard night, poor thing. Sleep.

Maybe I’ll sleep. lol. As if it were as simple as stating the intention to do so.

Well… you never know.

Signing off from the magic, blue screen for the time being…



15 thoughts on “4:35 am

  1. Good job with the better books! My daughter loved those magic tree house books, but tired of them, and when I got her “Danny, Champion of the World”, she was HOOKED. LOVES Dahl. Did a report on him in 4th grade, I think. One day, we were talking about a Dahl book she was reading (Matilda, I think), and I mentioned to her that there was a film version, and we could rent it if she wanted. She said, Yes, she’d like to see it, but “It won’t be as good as the book, Mama…because, well, It’s a BOOK.”

    Love that kid to bits.

  2. Oh, and what you said about reading to her? Amen. No need for her to read to herself. The most important thing is for her to catch the love of books, however she processes them. And reading with your child will not last, so enjoy the hell out of it.

    Also, what you said about not underestimating kids, because they’re aware and watching and making sure everything is OK? Oh yeah, I remember that as a child. I see it now in my daughter.

    And George Selden? Oh, dear, my daughter also LOVES Cricket in Times Square. And Konisburg, Mixed up files of Mrs. whatever her name is, she loved that too. Not so into View From Saturday, for some reason. Anyway, my point is, your daughter will LOVE these books, I’m sure, even if she still wants to balance them out with some easier stuff like Magic Tree House.

  3. My favorite book is The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. My youngest son loved that one, too. I was surprised to find that he also enjoyed another favorite of mine: The Secret Garden. And, now that I think about it, he liked Mark Twain (Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn in particular). We did a lot of reading together, especially when he was in the 3rd and 4th grades.

    You’re a good mom. :)

  4. My daughter started her love of reading with the Rainbow Magic Fairy Books, she read a few of the Magic Tree House books and then she discovered the Magic Tree House Research Guides and proceeded to read all of those. Currently she’s on the American Girl books and is reading them at a rate of one a day. She’ll be getting the entire Julie series for Christmas from Santa, I put in a special request to him through Amazon.com.

    I think that we all need a bit of crap culture. My daughter gets enough herself with Hannah Montana and High School Musical and Zoey 101. (mainly at her Dad’s house and on DVD) The thing about crap culture is that it makes us well rounded people don’t you think.

    Your a great Mom! She’s gonna be so cool because of you.

  5. Hi J, I thought we might have some similar favorites, based on your book posts. That’s so cool you know of the George Selden books. You’ve definitely got a reader on your hands.

    Yeah, I donno what age they start wanting you not to read to them anymore. I’m sure by the time I hit 6th grade I was putting myself to bed, so I’m going to treasure these nights while they last. It was nice to hear from you. :)

    Robin- Should I edit it it up there? We’ve never read The Phantom Tollbooth, I’m curious about that one. I remember the Secret Garden. There’s a book that deals with similar themes by Julie Andrews (of Mary Poppins fame) She wrote two books, ‘The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles’ and ‘Mandy’ which… they were pretty cool books and I found them notable because they are very different in flavor and characterization from eachother. Mandy reminded me of the secret garden.

    Mark Twain. Good ol’ Mark Twain… he wrote an entire short story that was composed of one sentence (it’s a around very long paragraph in length, if I remember) I liked his story about the toad races.

    Bibliomom- She likes the research guides, really? That’s pretty cool, it sounds like she has an inquiring mind. I’ve never picked those up. I want Sierra to read Julie of the Wolves, but not sure if I want her to read the follow-ups. There’s something so resolved about the ending of the first book. Sad, but true. Scott O’Dell, she’ll be ready for soon, too.

    I can’t stand the Zoey show, and Hannah and all those! But she loves them. I must admit some of the tunes in Highschool Musical are rather catchy… the basketball song.

    You three are all fantastic moms, too. (I just know)

  6. Oh Lord, don’t get me started on The Phantom Tollbooth. Maya loved that one so much, she told her bff at the time the WHOLE story in the car, and that good mom went and bought it, and they all read it together, and LOVED it as well. I read it, and LOVED it. It’s awesome. Give it a shot. We read that one when she was maybe 2nd or 3rd grade, and I read it to her the first time around. But she’s read it a couple of times since then.

    Maya’s favorite American Girl books are the Historical Mysteries, though they’re not based on the dolls. She has a few of those as well, including I think the whole Samantha collection, which is interesting because she has 4 (I KNOW!) American Girl Dolls, and not Samantha. :)

    And those shows make me puke. But Maya LOVES them. She also loves Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Heroes, and Battlestar Gallactica, so she has SOME taste. ;)

  7. You totally have to get a copy of “The Phantom Tollbooth” RIGHT NOW!!! Also, Beverly Cleary’s books about the Quimby family have yet to be equaled in their understanding of children’s inner worlds, IMO.

    I love it that you read to your daughter.

  8. I hope the antibiotics have kicked in and he’s back to his old, cute self.

    Stuff in NJ is not good. I’m waiting for another update, in hopes that the news will improve (and not worsen).

    I should have stayed out there.

  9. I’m so sorry. It might have been easier on you to be there today, true. But she knows you’re there with your whole heart and mind, there’s little more you could do at this moment.

    Hope yer doin ok.

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