Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Mora Literary and Oatmeal Creme Pie Society

On the last day of our homeschool year, I congratulated the girls on their hard work in finishing up their lessons a little early. After spending a good five or six minutes basking in the glow of academic success and subsequent summer freedom, I excused myself from the festivities. Returning a moment or two later, I produced a pile of books.  "Welcome to the summer of reading!" I cried excitedly.  Their eyes widened a little, but still high on the fumes of finishing the first and third grades, they jumped on board. 

A modest collection of books, I thought. No way will it take all summer to read these, right? RIGHT?!

At least, I thought they did.

After a few weeks of swimming, sleepovers, and surprise weekend getaways, I decided it was time to hit the books.  Both Bronte and Chloe are strong readers (I think--I really don't have anyone to compare them to), but I can't say we have reached the point where the girls are reading for pleasure. Up to now, they have mostly read in connection with their school work or because I made them.

This is a very big deal to me, mainly because I love to read and have been utterly bewildered with Bronte's and Chloe's indifference toward my favorite pastime. Suggestions of "Why don't you read a book?" are usually met with an instantaneous sagging of the shoulders. This results in the rephrasing of said suggestion as a direct order:  "I was only pretending to ask.  Go. Get. Your. Book."  Next comes the deep, disgruntled sigh with enough force behind it to change the barometric pressure of the room, followed by a morose shuffling off that might as well be accompanied by shouts of "Dead man walking!"

Once the actual reading starts, so do the questions: How long do I have to read? How many pages do I have to read? Can I switch books? Can't you just read it to me so I don't have to? 

I respond in my usual encouraging, supportive, and meek manner:

"Of course you like to read. You just don't realize it yet."

"What kind of person doesn't like to read?!"

"YOU ARE GOING TO FINISH THIS BOOK IF IT KILLS ME!"

And my best buzz-kill to date...

"OH YEAH? WELL, NOW I'M GOING TO GOOGLE A QUIZ ON THE BOOK FOR YOU TO TAKE, SO THERE!"

After a week or two of this, I eventually resorted to some shrewd bribery:  

"If you finish this book, I'll take you to the store and buy you something." I failed to mention that by "store" I meant "bookstore" and by "something" I meant "another book for me to hound you about."

I would apologize for my antics except, lo and behold, they worked.

The girls have indeed started working their way through the pile of summer reading books, not that they had much choice. Chloe, wearing what we have dubbed the "Laura Ingalls Reading Cap," finished Little House in the Big Woods over the weekend and moved on to Little House on the Prairie, her reward for finishing the first book in the series...and she is even happy about it.


After something of a slow start, Bronte finished A Wrinkle in Time which she summarized as exciting and scary, while sometimes using the word "it" too often.  She just started Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. She is excited about this because (a) she has watched all seven movies and is excited for the eighth, (b) she has already determined it is a considerably faster read, and (c) I am reading the series, too, so we are in it together.



But the best part of all is that finally, finally, FINALLY, one of my favorite moments of motherhood thus far has occurred:  Yesterday morning, Bronte and Chloe willingly chose to read with me instead of watching t.v. or playing Angry Birds. 

"This choice deserves a reward!" I announced, when we had finished reading.  They looked worried when I left the room, probably thinking I would come back with a new book, or worse, math worksheets or Roman numeral flashcards. 

But our little book club moment had created a kinder, gentler me. Despite the fact that it was only 10 a.m., I returned with oatmeal creme pies and milk and we snacked and laughed and basked in the warm glow of the summer morning sun.

Mommy's dream come true.

2 comments:

Crystal said...

So awesome!

Trinity said...

This post makes me smile and wish I could be yet another body on your couch basking in the glow of Potter's wand.