. . . or maybe because it was April Fool's Day, I can say I fooled you. Yesterday in honor of the day of pranks, I reviewed Gotcha! 18 Amazing Ways to Fool Your Friends on 5 Minutes for Books. In my review, I implied (by saying it straight out) that "anything that causes a child to let out one of those contagious and melodic belly laughs is okay in my book."
Later that night my children were full of life. Amanda was "fooling" Kyle by pretending to be a monster knocking on his door. There was lots of running around, lots of screaming -- and oh yes, the effervescent sound of children's laughter. Was it "okay in my book"? Not so much. In theory, I love it. In reality, at the end of a long day when I want to wind down and the children are ramping up, I wish for complete silence, peace, stillness.
I know one day I'll be sorry that I didn't relish the shrieking, or join in more often. But I can say that I didn't stop them, and I didn't yell (I just sat downstairs trying to read and sort of gritting my teeth and taking deep calming breaths).
Not only was I a bit frustrated by my children (by my reaction to them), but I was also feeling a bit frustrated with my reading. I was restless. I've been reading Cutting for Stone. It's still slow-going. However, I know that when it's all said and done I'll be glad I read it. The setting is interesting -- Indian expat doctors working in a poor Ethiopian town -- and around page 60 it did pick up considerably, but I wouldn't cry if I lost it and couldn't finish it. So I decided, 168 pages in, to set it aside for a bit.
I decided to start Things I Want My Daughters to Know, which I need to finish in the next couple of weeks. I've read a few chapters, and it's good. I think that I'll like it, but I still felt restless.
When Amanda left for school yesterday, she said, "I really really want you to read 11 Birthdays. Will you stop reading your book and read it?"
"I'll read it," I promised.
"Probably not today, but soon."
So, I decided to put my money where my mouth is and read it instead. Wednesday nights I read a lot (now that Top Chef isn't on), because Amanda's at church and Terry comes home late after picking her up from church. So I put Kyle to bed, and I read.
"Do you like it? Isn't it good?" she asked, when I told her on the way to church that I had started 11 Birthdays.
Yes, it's good. And it was just the thing I needed to get me out of my slump. Many children's books are so well-written. They aren't too heavy (usually), and they offer immediate gratification -- I read the entire book in a few hours. That's the ultimate in escape reading.
So I feel somewhat redeemed in my parenting. Not only did I already cross one book off mine and Amanda's Read Together list, but this morning we started one of our read-alouds: Pieces of Georgia. It's written in free verse, so it's just a bit more lyrical than a normal book. I am confident that we'll be able to finish it (we got about a fourth of the way through this morning).
It's also a perfect way to celebrate National Poetry Month. The other thing that I am doing (that dovetails with Read Together) is reading Amanda and Kyle the poem each morning that is printed at GottaBook for 30Poets/30Days. Yesterday was a great poem by Jack Prelutsky and today I was introduced to Rebecca Kai Dotlich.