Thursday, October 25, 2007

Sights & Sounds for the Week

Q has a new favorite book these days—namely, There’s a Monster at the End of this Book—a Sesame Street classic starring your lovable, furry pal Grover. I won’t ruin the nice surprise for you (who could the monster be?), but at one salient point in the story Grover confesses that he’s so embarrassed. Q has picked up on that word, and she now points out when others are embarrassed, usually characters in other books. And she gets it right most of the time. Exercise for the reader: Define the word “embarrassed” without looking it up. Extra Credit: Now explain the concept first to a four-year old and then a 2.5-year old. I’d love to hear your attempts.

The Boy has been back at school for a little over a month now, and my wife and I were worried that he would be bored, mainly because the school is the same and now he’s the oldest in his class. No need to worry, it turns out: Because he only has nine kids in his class, he receives age-specific attention from the two (yes, two) teachers. The Boy recently informed us, for example, that he is “an author” because he has “a book full of letters.” Each day at school he has been practicing writing, dedicating an entire page to each letter of the alphabet. He’s now on ‘h’. After a recent class visit, my wife remarked that he writes in a book that looks alarmingly like the Blue Books she filled during her law school exams. (Next they’ll probably have him learning Denelian.)

The Boy so liked a robot book (itself a recent purchase) that my wife bought another in the series, along with several other books, via the Internet. And what happened was what sometimes happens with on-line orders: We discovered that this latest one was in fact a coloring book, and a rather long one at that—23 pages, in fact. The Boy really wanted to read it, but quickly flagged with boredom because, well, uncolored the story doesn’t really hold your attention. So my wife decides to color the whole thing, and when she decides to do something, she rather does it. Each night for several days, after the kids finally gave in to sleep, she would sit hunched at the table or in the bed neatly enlivening the story. During the day, The Boy would offer criticism—“Couldn’t you use a cooler color than yellow for that?” or “Next time the robot rabbit should be blue.” One particular, recent night, my wife had to join a conference call during the usual bath and book time, so she retreated into our bedroom to avoid distractions and distracting. After finally working Q and The Boy into bed (and after my wife briefly left the phone alone face up in our bedroom to deliver kisses), I came into her still on her call with lawyers and bankers, coloring carefully away on the final few pages of The Boy’s book.

Now, who, exactly, are the adults and who are the children?


Anonymous said...

No extra credit needed; Webster's doesn't really help out here and of course, Oxford is even more difficult. How do you explain "self-conscious", "ill at ease", "disconcert" or "mortify" to a 4 year old and 2 year old? It's amazing that Q gets the concept. No wacky squeaky 3rd person speaking Elmo voice for Grover - he's busy teaching kids concepts that Webster and the OED can't. Grover is pure genius.

-Extra Credit Lover

Nadine said...

Your wife coloring the book, that is SO sweet and loving! Plus, it makes a great story to share with your children when they've grown up.