Sunday, February 22, 2009

My Son, The Jock


As I've mentioned before, Will has had the urge to be upright since he was born, basically. He gets frustrated, is moved to tears even, when someone ignores his grunting demand to stand. We can therefore add standing to the list of things Will has loved since birth, which also includes:

-eating
-moving
-grabbing
-gumming
-arching
-jumping (or being flung in the air as if he were jumping)

Do you see a pattern here? A pattern of action, as opposed to words? A pattern of--OK, I'll cut to the chase. What Will doesn't love, and what he hasn't loved for one second since the day he was born is...here goes nothing...is reading. READING. My child, my flesh and blood, my pudgy-cheeked monkey boy: HATES BOOKS.

There have been a few exception-al moments. He does like it when I use funny voices, but
 honestly, I've started accompanying those voices with more tangible effects. Like, um, grabbing. And jumping. What can I say? I didn't even notice I was using multisensory add-ons until today, when I began to read "Good Night, Gorilla" and Will immediately dove into a backbend on my lap. As the board book rammed into my jaw and the indignant wailing began--HOW DARE YOU READ THIS TO ME, THIS BOOK ABOUT A ZOO THAT IS MY COUSIN'S FAVORITE BOOK EVER, THIS ADORABLE STORY OF A ZOOKEEPER AND HIS WIFE AND THE ANIMALS, WHEN YOU KNOW MY FAVORITE THING IS STANDING AND/OR EATING THINGS?--I calmly said to Dave, "He doesn't really like books." 

[Dave clearly married me for my acute observations.]

"No, he really doesn't," Dave replied. "He's a doer, honey; not a reader."

So I started to cry. Oh yes, I cried.

I thought about never being able to comfort Will with a favorite book; never reading him to sleep at night in a rocking chair, holding him in my lap; never seeing him grow into chapter books, argue with me for ten more minutes before lights-out, escape into a story when his own life was less than ideal.

Four somewhat reassuring responses spring to mind immediately:

1) Just because he doesn't like books at five months old doesn't mean he won't ever like reading.
2) If he never loves reading, it will be because he seeks and finds comfort in other activities, not because he wants to love reading but can't figure out how.
3) Lots of non-bibliophiles are perfectly clever and well-adjusted. (Case in point: my husband, for goodness' sake.)

And finally: 4) This is perhaps the first of many lessons, all reinforcing a central tenet of parenthood: your child is not yourself. Deal with it.

(I suppose I won't be too bummed if we get to skip the arguing-over-lights-out thing, either.)

Mom, chicks dig the standing! Can't you see I'm too cute to read?

1 comment:

Kristoffer & Lisa said...

J, didn't you learn ANYTHING from Susan Redditt? Some kids need a fishbowl...some kids need pants...and some kids need to be read to whilst doing calisthenics! Maybe you should take Will to Alaska.