Until a year ago, I had read aloud to Jude virtually every night of his life since the day he was born. I'll never forget holding him in the hospital and reading...
Then we saw him step in on the mat!
We looked! And we saw him!
The Cat in the Hat!
Carefully holding the book up to share Dr. Seuss's pictures for his not-yet-focused eyes.
Reading aloud to him has been one of the greatest joys of my life. It perfectly combines my love of books + my love of performance + my love of the boy.
We have always had our nighttime reading ritual. Over time, he started reading on his own, aloud to me. Which I also loved. He'd read a while to me, then I'd read a while to him.
Then he stopped wanting to read aloud to me. He wanted to read to himself inside his head. No problem. We established something I called "tandem reading" during which time he would read his book and I would read my book, then we'd put our books away and I'd read something aloud to him.
But then...about a year ago...dum, dum, dum, DUM...he told me he really didn't need me to read aloud to him anymore.
This was truly heartbreaking. Earthshatteringly upsetting. But I survived. Never really got over it...sigh...but worked my way through it. He is growing up. Pushing away from Mom. It's all healthy and natural. But I still hated it.
Then, about a month ago...
We went and saw that 3D nightmare, Oz the Great and Powerful. That night, as Jude was going to sleep, he suddenly asked if we still had that old copy of The Wizard of Oz that I'd had when I was little. We did.
My Mama had loved the book The Wizard of Oz because her father had been personal friends with L. Frank Baum when the author lived in Aberdeen, South Dakota, Mama's hometown. Apparently, his description of Kansas in the book is based on his experience in Aberdeen.
I dug the book out and handed it to him, assuming he wanted to read it to himself, but instead he asked, "Could you read it to me?"
CUE: CHORUS OF ANGELS
I could! And I DID! And we enjoyed it so much that when we finished it, I pulled out another beloved edition from my childhood, The Wind in the Willows, and have been reading it to him!
Interestingly, these are books which he deems too "babyish" to read to himself, but are still very intriguing, and my reading them aloud to him seems to be the perfect solution.
I have started a stack on his bedside table of children's classics which he has never read, and we are both kind of excited about. Next up is Peter Pan, then Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
It's kind of sad that Disney has ruined these books for kids and has them believing that they are too "babyish". They aren't. In fact, the writing is very grownup, with lots of big words. It's nothing that a little kid could read. I'm assuming that they were originally written to be read aloud. Lucky me!
All of this reading of classics has me loving my funny little man all the more. He has been picking up Wind in the Willowsisms. Three times now, I have heard him using the word..."posthaste". I can't imagine what his teacher is going to think if he works this into some comment at school.
And he completely lost it when we read the following sentence...
"Nor don't the ducks neither," replied the Rat cheerfully.
"Hahahahahahahah," said Jude, barely able to catch his breath, "that's HYSTERICAL! It's a TRIPLE negative!!"
I don't know whether to be proud that my child found a triple negative so hilarious, or slightly embarrassed. It's real English Major humor.
Nevertheless, I am really enjoying being the read-alouder again. I don't know how long it's going to last, but I'm going to relish every moment!