Feb 05 2007
I was reading one of my crafty blogs, angry chicken the other day, and she expressed her anxiety over introducing something to her kids that she loves/loved so much in her own childhood. She’s written about it before, when she got out her beloved My Friend Mandy doll, and then more recently, when she put on some ABBA.
I haven’t had fearful moments as big as these ones, but the biggest thing I’ve introduced from my childhood, was my dear, beloved pookie bear. Since I stuck it in his crib when he was a baby, it is not like I would be instantly hurt if he rejected it, since it was several months to a year that he even gave it a second glance.
However, it has been my continual joy that pookie bear has become the most treasured of possessions. He loved it and would carry it around as a small toddler, but was more likely to grab at his baby blanket, given the choice. He still loved Pookie and I remember once, I heard him whispering and asked him what he was saying and he informed me, “I’m talking to POOKIE BEAR!” I grinned, and then butted out of their private conversation. Lately he is even more about the pookie bear. He carries it to school and back, loves to have it with him at every opportunity. I must say, it’s nice to have this sort of attachment at an older age, an age who can appreciate that leaving pookie bear in the car is probably better than bringing him into the store/library/what-have-you. When pookie bear inadvertantly gets left in his cubby at school, we have fun imagining what Pookie will do after everyone is gone. Maybe he climbs down and plays with the legos! Ethan has lately even been putting pookie bear in Jocelyn’s doll high chair, bringing the whole thing over into the kitchen, so pookie can eat his breakfast when the kids are eating theirs. It is just too sweet, and it makes me so happy that my beloved pookie bear is still so beloved.
As I said, I never had that feeling of trepidation on introducing something beloved before. He was sort of bound to love pookie bear, since he had been kicking around pretty much since his birth. Until a few weeks ago. When the movie “Charlotte’s Web” came out, of course I thought that it would be a good one to take Ethan too. However, I did not want him the movie to be first and the book second, if at all. So I have been toying around with the idea of reading it to him chapter by chapter for our bedtime story. I wasn’t sure if he was old enough for a book, though it does have a few drawings in it each chapter. And it had been quite some time since I read it, but I thought it wouldn’t be too old for him.
So now we get to the trepidation part. You see, Charlotte’s Web has always held a special place in my heart. I beleive it was Charlotte’s Web that made me into the voracious reader that I am (or was. haven’t read a lot lately ) I read it when I was in the first grade, and it was the very first “chapter” book I ever read. I was so very proud of myself. I was reading books! With chapters! Just like my older brothers and sister! Just like a grown-up! I just adore Charlotte’s Web.
What if Ethan didn’t? I must say, I was really nervous.
James and I discussed it lightly, and he agreed that it was probably age appropriate and what not, and even signed up for the bedtime reading. I was secretly pleased when Ethan closed the door on that one. When James mentioned that he’d read Charlotte’s Web too, Ethan replied that he still wanted Daddy to read other books.
So I tried not to expect too much as I settled in each night and read him a chapter. It really is a very simple book and the chapters are short. It doesn’t take me much, if any longer to read him a chapter than it would to read him one of his other bedtime books. I had to bite my tongue from asking what he thought, did he like it, and just let him take it in and be. He is very squirrely during the reading, and after the first few chapters, I wondered if he was actually even paying attention and hearing anything.
Finally, a few nights ago, we got to the chapter where Charlotte is introduced. He was excited to finally meet Charlotte, but again, not a whole lot of feedback was coming from Ethan. Until the NEXT night we settled in to read. James was putting Jocelyn to bed, but finished and came in to give Ethan his hug and kiss goodnight, when Ethan started telling daddy ALL about Charlotte, nearly verbatim from the book.
“Charlotte is a BLOOD THIRSTY, daddy! She’s a trapper! She’s a good trapper! It’s a good thing there’s spiders, because otherwise there’d be TOO MANY BUGS! Charlotte DRINKS BLOOD!”
I was just so tickled. Of course, it would be the blood thirsty business that finally stood out in Ethan’s head, but obviously, he has been hearing it all, taking it all in, and now he openly expresses his excitement to find out what is happening with Wilbur and Charlotte on our nights of reading together. We’ve also decided that I need to make a bookmark for the book, with a spider and a spiderweb on it. (We’re just using a simple ribbon as a bookmark right now.) Sometimes we settle down and Ethan confesses to me nervously, “I lost our place, mommy.” which means he’s been taking the book down and looking through it, which just makes me pleased as punch. I always reassure him that I can find where we left off.
It’s such a relief when your childhood loves aren’t rejected by your own children I can’t wait until Jocelyn is a little older so I can introduce her to the fairy tale books I have from my own childhood. I’m saving those for her.
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