Ry is a new reader. He genuinely seems to like reading beginning level books. More importantly, he seems to relish the idea of capturing the spirit or essence of the characters in the book. Before going to sleep, he likes to keep a pile of books under his pillow, so he can read, look at pictures or do whatever he does with the books under the light of his oversized flashlight. I want to support his interest, though I’m not always sure about what I am doing.
Our latest effort included a “word finders-keepers” list. Whenever we come across a word that was hard for him to read or understand, we add it to the list. It has been a rich experience for me to see how many words we can find in just one chapter of a “Ready Freddy” story. Without much effort, we are up to 50 words.
I hope we can continue at the slow pace we are at for both Ry and J. Sometimes it is hard not to get sucked into the competitive chatter over what kids are “doing.” I’m always a bit suspicious when I hear about these six year old kids, “who lovvvvvvvvve Harry Potter.” I’m sure there are kids who do, but I tend to think it is more about the parents wish to have a superstar. I’m trying to hold on to my hope that reading will be satisfying if it can start out being pleasurable, pointless, and a unique journey that the child discovers.
I was talking to a single young man yesterday. He was confiding in me his concern about his early stage hair loss. I could instantly commiserate with the hair loss stages of grief he was going through. I remember all too well, the constant checking in the mirror, walking past Rogaine in the drug store, and paying more attention to those late night commercials for Bosley hair restoration.
My wife was always available to tell me “it’s not that bad” or “if someone is looking at you face to face, you can’t even see the back of your head.” For women, who have a hard time understanding this, it is probably the equivalent of asking your husband or partner, “do you think I look fat?” You really don’t want to hear, ” yeah.” You are hoping for,” naawh, you look great.” But on the inside, you know that something has changed. You are not the same you that you once were. And then when all hope for reclaiming your lost youth is gone, you have kids.
On Sunday, I was on the floor playing Candy land with the family. In between turns, Ry would come by and gently drum on my “spot.” That is how my bald spot is referred to in my family. Sometimes my wife or sons will express concern for my “spot” by asking if I put sun tan lotion on it. The most recent use for my “spot” occurred at the Custard Street Festival in Evanston.
J was getting tired from playing in the park and walking around, so I offered to put him up on my shoulders. My wife then ordered him a smoothie. He then wisely decided that my “spot” would function as a coaster for his drink. I had to smile. For that moment, I was glad I had my “spot.”