We were stuck, incredibly stuck. Books were only for bedtime in a house where bedtime remained as elusive as shadows at night. Alder has a preference for tucking himself into random corners of the house with nests of blankets rather than the entire night time routine. And you can forget pajamas this little boy is all about sleeping naked, or with the same shirt he wore all day. Some vestiges of bedtime remain, once he chooses his spot there is teeth brushing and cuddling (though neither of us are willing to cuddle under the table (it’s a post table). But the books were vanishing from our life.
During the day there was a lot of begging for movies (movies really mean any thing watched on a screen). Not just a ‘hey can I watch a movie?’ during a lull, but the lets wake Mama up begging sort of way. And with experience with Mr. A I know that movies at the beginning of the day usually put him in a terrible to be around, why isn’t the world technic-color, mood. Hmm….
I also know that rules don’t work. There is no point of me declaring No Movies Until the Afternoon around here because, well it doesn’t work. It leads to fights and it just seems arbitrary since there are days where a movie at 10 in the morning made sense. So I looked deeper to see where this was all coming from.
It wasn’t that deep actually, I realized that I haven’t read a novel in a few months. Non-fiction sure, but it isn’t the same joy. And us grown-ups had been spending a lot of time staring at the computer screen in front of him. Were we happier in the internet world during the day rather than doing things? No. Was I starting to feel a little absent from the real world? Yes. Could he be noticing this and seeing that my reaction was to look further for connections on the screen rather than in person? Well he is observant.
So the very next day when we were at the library I found a few novels to read. This was three weeks ago now. Three books later and well into my fourth, I am completely sucked back into the world of fiction. And we’ve started a mid-day cuddle and read habit. Frog and Toad is a favorite, so are folk tales, but it was like magic how just my excitement for the books has him finding me with books in hand.
Of course there is a second half to this, especially the morning thing, now when we get up I spend no more than a half hour on the computer (today is our Saturday in this family so I have a few extra moments). Instead we plan projects or trips or cook or just play.
It’s one of those things I heard about when I was learning how to be a teacher, “modeling” how we were supposed to show the kids how to act and they would follow. Within the school setting I’m not sure it works, with all the daily requirements and large groups. But at home it seems that it does. I’m not sure if I am being coercive, since I needed the reading back in my life as well, but it is helping with the general mood around this house.