My boy is reading now and, true to little sibling form, he is doing everything humanly possible to keep up with his big sister. Devil–and reason–take the hindmost.
He won’t quite torture himself with the erudite works she plows through, fortunately (Camus, Kafka, Sartre, Dostoyevsky). (OK, I exaggerate, but really, she scares me.)
He does keep picking up and chomping into books which his school would probably call “just wrong” books. As opposed to the “just right” books they suggest. You know, stuff whose vocabulary you understand at least half of. But I’m not snatching the “just wrong” books from his hands yet. It’s still such a thrill for him to have joined the party, and I can’t bear to tell him–ever in front of his sister–that he might actually enjoy a little lighter fare. We’ll get to that soon enough.
Yesterday, at the library, he brought over a Roald Dahl book for my inspection (Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator) and said, “This is funny-looking!” I had to say, “Yes, that would be because it’s in French.”
He looked at me, blinked for a moment, and returned it to the shelf.
Mr. Popper’s Penguins (“just wrong,” but not that far off, and at least in English) is what he chose to keep his imagination spinning. And spin it did.
On his sixth birthday, Berkeley, CA.
He skipped the entire distance from midway through the school yard and down the street to our trusty steed. That crown’s his teacher’s handiwork, bless those amazing, amazing people.
Much afoot of late. Same day this chap turned six, his grandfather, whose name he bears from the middle on out, took a spill and wound up back in the ER at the local hospital, whence he had not a few days before exited, post-minor stroke. That same night, yrs truly promptly fell ill with The Influenza, which is only juuuuust beginning to saunter off, stage left. Accursed thing. Pops is more or less stable now, “salad speech” pretty much a head-scratching artifact of the past. Though the memory, shaky to begin with, is notably diminished and diminishing. Cheery spirit still intact, lard love him.
And the boy? He’s wearing six very, very well. Qoth A. A. Milne, back in 1927, when his grandfather had just turned six:
When I was one,
I had just begun.
When I was two,
I was nearly new.
When I was three,
I was hardly me.
When I was four,
I was not much more.
When I was five,
I was just alive.
But now I am six,
I’m as clever as clever;
So I think I’ll be six now
for ever and ever.
Sunset over the Gate, the autumnal version, Berkeley, CA.
This happens a handful of times a year, the sun behind the gate, on its northward and southward sweeps. Darn tootin’ my kids are going to know how special it is.
One of the reasons I don’t blog very often is that I’m at work generating a lot of this stuff. I’m not complaining.
LesbianDad is a personal essay/photography blog. It began as a document of my parenthood but, like life, its ambit has stretched to include much more than I expected. My kids call me "Baba," and together we work toward a world in which amor really does vincit omnia.