He wanted to lay back and read but not hold his head up. Here was his monologue.
Jack: Mom, you know those prism glasses?
me: No, what’re they?
Jack: These glasses that let you lay down and read without lifting your head. I need those. This would be so easy with them. They reflect the words up here and you don’t have to even lift your head. That’s great if your tired. (Pause) Or if you have a neck injury.
Jack and I just watched the 5th Harry Potter movie. Really good! Which means… Jack finished reading book 5 this weekend, of course. He rarely waits more than a day after finishing the book to start begging to watch the movie.
We had a power outage right in the middle of the movie, which sucked, but it came back on after a couple of hours.
In the meantime I grilled salmon and potatoes plus we had shrimp cocktail. Yum! I’m more motivated when it feels like I’m camping. I also had Jack practice his forms for his black belt test which is in… Gasp… 2 weeks !! Mine too, actually… :O
I even built a fire in the fireplace so we could read later if the power stayed out. Now we have full lights plus a roaring fire and it’s 80 degrees out. Oh well..
I asked Jack to sum up the movie for all of his blogger fans. I couldn’t get much out of him…
Jack: I liked it. It was scary in some parts.
me: Really? That’s it??
Jack: Where’s book 6?!
Jack: Wow, it only has 652 pages. I can get this done … In about… Hmmm… I would like to say… Um, If I went straight through every day 24/7 then about … A week. But since that’s not gonna happen… 2 months.
And there you have it. Lets see if his estimate holds true. 🙂
Jack doesn’t want to be a “geek”. We found out that he needed to get glasses, and his first thought was “I’m going to be a freak!”. How do you even have that thought at age 7. Then after a little time to think it over, he realized that he could pick out totally cool frames, and uh… actually SEE? So the glasses idea became much cooler in his eyes.
As far as the “geek” name goes…Jack would prefer to play chess over checkers, prefers reading to building a model airplane (I know because I built this little bitch this morning with no instructions! The fighter jet of course. And I had fun, because I LOVE to build things.), he knows VERBATIM, all of the Star Wars movies, and always asks me hard questions like “who’s worse, a battle droid or Jar Jar?” IDK!! Well Jar Jar annoys the P outta me. And he would sit for at least 4 days solid playing video games before he would start to notice the stench of his own filth surrounding him, and would possibly realize that he’s thirsty.
Anyway, I didn’t want to break it to Jack that he might be on his way to becoming a geek with or without the glasses.
Jack: The king goes on that side, Mom.
Jack: I’m black and black goes first.
Jack: Okay, let’s cut to the chase and get this show on the road.
me: Now you sound like an old person.
Jack: Look at these moves! They’re awesome!
me: A modest old person.
(we play for awhile)
Jack: Sooo, I’ll just take your knight and this horse is going to MY training school and when I’m done he comes back BLACK. Hahahaha!
me: Sigh. Pay attention. I just got you in check.
Jack: You can’t get the Queen in check.
me: Huh? Oh… Sigh…
Jack: I’m already planning my counter attack. Hahahahaaaa!
me: I’m glad you’re having fun.
Jack: I always have fun when I win.
me: I know.
Jack: Heyyyy, you didn’t even realize that you moved your rook right into my line of fire. I’ll just blast him off the board!
me: Oh, how silly of me. (At that point I would have done anything to get the game over with just a little quicker. I was SO tired!)
Jack: A fully functioning remote controlled tank with real fire power? I NEEEEEED that…
me: Oh I’m sure that’s happening.
Jack: (not listening to me, still reading) …cuddle with the undead… EWWWW!
me: What the heck product is that?
Jack: Shhh, I’m reading.
Jack: The monkey is holding my EXACT 6-shooter. Sweet.
me: What monkey? The cartoon?
Jack: (ignores me)
me: (changing the subject) Hey, your water bottle is still full here. What did you drink all day?
Jack: I drank DRANKS, whaddya think?
me: (stifling laughter)
Jack: (finally looks up annoyed) I mean DRINKS. Whatever. (tosses the magazine and leaves the room)
me: Sheesh, what a grump.
Jack wanted to read before bed. That means he wants to read his own book, while I read MY own book, while we both sit in MY bed. Then he tries to weasel his way into actually sleeping in my bed. It was a whole scene. Bambi eyes, the “I’m scared because I’m alone” story. Then he gets a mysterious stomach ache. I still told him “no” even though I toyed with saying yes. I have to pack for a short overnight trip to NYC tomorrow and I knew I’d be running around in the bedroom for a bit after he went to bed.
Therefore, after we finished reading, and Jack realized he had to go upstairs to his own bed, he got a bit cranky. He snapped his Encyclopedia Brown book shut and hopped off the bed.
me: All done with the book?
Jack: I closed it, didn’t I?
We headed upstairs and began the new routine of meds. It’s a chore. Jack has asthmatic symptoms that come out when he has a cold (he has a little one right now), or if he exerts himself too much, as in when he runs a lot. He also has some allergies (food yes, but also environmental) which make his breathing difficult at night. This kid has had a stuffy nose since he was 2 weeks old. Seriously. I pulled out the bag of goodies and I gave him the two different inhalers. Then I tried to open the allergy liquid bottle. The child-proof cap would not budge. It literally cut my palm. I muttered and cursed under my breath as I used more and more force to get the darn thing open.
me: (muttering some more) Why won’t this flarken thing open…GRRR…! Stinking child-proof cap lock!
Jack: Why do you get upset when something actually works?
(Wise old sage he is)
Well, these aren’t “proven” or anything, but they worked for Jack. He started actually reading at 3. Lots and lots of words and some short sentences. He was fully able to read when he was 4. And by fully, I mean, pick up an age-appropriate book and sound out the words until he could read the whole story. I’m sure some of the stuff I talk about is pretty standard, but I’m sure there are other tips that are uniquely ours. All I can say is that today, Jack told me I was being cynical, and he used it correctly in context. Oh boy…
10. Use reading as a form of “time out”.
Instead of using the bottom step or sending your child to his/her bedroom, simply tell them to go read for 10 minutes until they cool off. Jack would always go along with this. And then we’d both be happier when he was done.
me: You may excuse yourself up to your room. No playing with toys. You can read or just lay there.
me: This is because you can’t behave yourself. Come down when you can control yourself.
Jack: Okay! (he’s acting mad, but I know he’s okay with this)
me: (later) You can come down now Jack.
Jack: Nahh, I’m still reading…
9. Keep a book bin in your car.
I use a hard plastic tote bag, sort of like the kind you’d take to the beach. Nothing makes Jack happier than to pull out a good book on a long drive. No car sickness if you start em young.
Jack: Got any snacks? (sees my warning look) Please?
me: I do. Here. (I hand back a baggie of goldfish)
Jack: Thanks! (He starts munching and flipping pages, totally content for at least 60 minutes.)
8. Freshen up the books in your car from time to time.
Keeps things interesting. Then you won’t develop carpal tunnel trying to help your child find something interesting to read while you hurtle down the highway.
me: (driving with my arm bent behind me in the backseat trying to lift books out of the book bin) How about this one?
Jack: Nope. Read it.
me: (stretch grab) This one?
me: You’re taking this one, I don’t care what it is. Here.
Jack: Ohhh but it’s the menu from the Chinese restaurant!
me: Hm, how did that get in there?
7. Give in to the occasional need to read with a meal.
I choose breakfast. Nothing made me happier as a kid than to sit and eat cereal and read the back of that box. Then I graduated on to books or a magazine or the Times. Jack LOVES to read and eat cereal. I originally wouldn’t let him eat with any meals, only snacks, but I gave in.
Jack: Can I have my book?
me: Not with breakfast. You can read after.
Jack: But why?? I LIKE to read and eat.
me: Because its rude to eat your meals with someone and have your face buried in a book. Let’s talk instead.
Jack: Not gonna work! You say no talking with food in your mouth!
me: (He’s got me there)
6. Read with your child every single night.
Even if it’s only for 5 minutes. And even if it’s the same book you’ve read a thousand times. Just the sound of your voice can teach your child about speech patterns and the cadence of a good story. Especially one that has dialogue. Using the correct inflection when reading will then come more naturally to a child that’s been read to in that way.
Jack: Can I have 3 stories tonight?
me: Sorry, but we only have time for one.
Jack: That won’t work for me. I’m picking out 3.
me: I said one. OR you can choose none. Either way.
Jack: FiNE! Here’s one book. (he pulls out the 92-page Star Wars book)
me: And no. We’ll read like 5 pages of that.
5. Get your child to love libraries and book sales.
What’s better than spending a few hours in the library pouring over dusty volumes of Shackleton books. (I say!) Jack will sometimes bring a book from home on a trip to the library and then go find a comfy secluded spot and read while I browse. Ahhh, peace.
me: Jack, where’d you go?
Jack: Come find me! (giggles as he sneaks around)
me: (harsh whisper) Jack! Come here! Now!
Jack: Hee hee.
me: Get over here! I thought you were reading! (I forget to whisper and then I get lots of dirty looks…)
Jack: Sheesh, see what a grump she is??
4. Start to take turns reading common words with your child.
Schools call these “sight” words. Words that kids should know just by looking at them. “And. The. In. Out.” And so on. So, every time Jack and I would read a book, I would stop reading and leave my finger on a word that I knew that he knew. Like “Woof” or “The”, etc. Sometimes Jack lost his patience with this method. Even when he was only 3.
me: Then Biscuit said… (I point)
me: (I point again)
Jack: Yeah Yeah it says woof twice. I KNOW! Can’t you just read it to me? I’m tired!
3. Point to words in the book as you read them.
I started doing this when Jack was about 2. Or 2 and a half. I’ll admit, this will make your books waaayyyyy longer than they normally are. Try reading this sentence while pointing to every word and enunciating while making sure your child is following along.
me: Then. Buster. said. Woof. Woof.
Jack: Too fast!
me: Buster… ran … all … the … way … to …
Jack: What was that word? Go back.
me: you mean “the?” (Sigh…)
2. Stick with a daily time limit for TV/Video watching…for older kids.
We would dole out video time to Jack in 15-minute chunks. When he was done, we said he could go read for a while. Worked like a charm. We didn’t have cable when Jack was finally old enough to watch TV. Still don’t. So, he doesn’t know ALL of the current shows that are out there. It’s only mildly uncomfortable when we go to get his hair cut.
hairdresser: Hi sweetie, what show would you like to watch while I cut your hair?
Jack: Uh, cartoons?
hairdresser: Do you like Kick Buttowski?
Jack: Uhh… (looks at me)
me: I don’t think he knows what that is.
hairdresser: (raised eyebrow) Does he want the Disney Channel?
Jack: I guess?? OH! You just flipped by SpongeBob. I’ll take that.
hairdresser: Hmmph, at least he knows what that is. Heh heh…
1. Try to maintain the rule of little or no TV until your child turns 3.
Yeah I know that’s a hard one. We never had the TV on in our house, so it was a bit easier for us. Our daycare provider didn’t have TV in her house either. So, after a full day working, the last thing we wanted to do was bring Jack home and plop him in front of the TV. We wanted to spend the last hours of the day with him doing something fun and productive. I also read to Jack when he was in my tummy, and every night when he was an infant. I’ll never forget how, at a few months old, Jack learned to flip the pages of the books I read. He knew when it was time just by the sound of my voice. As Jack got older, he helped us cook dinner, and learned to read the cookbook…including measurements and fractions. And now he also loves to cook!
Jack: 3 or 4 cups of sugar next.
me: What? Gimme that. It says 3/4. Remember? When there’s a slash like that it’s just a part of a whole cup. Anytime you see a 4 on the bottom, you say quarter(s).
Jack: Uh oh, maybe we should check the other stuff I just gave you to dump in.
Jack loves this book. I always hear him cracking up when he reads it on his own. I’ve read it to him a number of times in the last year or so. It’s pretty long for a Berenstain book, and keeps Jack pretty interested, though he finishes it in about 5 minutes or so.
me: Wow you really like this book, don’t you.
Jack: (cracking up) This is HILARIOUS! Look, the Mom gets so upset she whistles with her fingers and her eyes cross! Ha ha ha!
me: Is that your favorite part?
Jack: I think the best part is when the neighbors didn’t know which was worse (he reads from the book) “the big storm or the racket coming from the bears’ house.” Ha ha haaaaa!
me: Do you think other kids would like this book?
Jack: Of course! Didn’t you hear me say it was funny? Kids love funny books. But there are a few bad words in here.
Jack: Can I tell you them?
me: Okay, just this once.
Jack: They say “shut up” (he looks over at me quickly) and then they say “dopey”. Is that REAL bad??
me: It’s not nice, but I’ve heard worse.
Jack: Like what??
me: Never mind.
Jack: If I had a sister I wouldn’t fight. I’m a very good sharer.
me: Does this book teach any lessons?
Jack: Yeah, you shouldn’t fight. But if you do, you should say sorry.
me: Good lesson. That goes for everyone, not just brothers and sisters. (I look at him pointedly, remembering his fight with me earlier)
Jack: I know I know, I said I’m sorry.
me: Okay. Thanks. How come you didn’t want me to read this book to you?
Jack: Because I can read it by myself much faster. You take too long.
Jack: But anyone that reads this book should turn it over and buy all the other books they show on the back.
me: Good marketing.
Jack: I know.