Today, with the Thanksgiving turkey about to jump out from around the corner and shout “Boo!” (at least, as long as he doesn’t get tangled up in Christmas lights or trampled by Black Thursday shoppers), I’m going to combine two things I’m thankful for into one post: my family, and books. Oh, and random tangents that make you say, just like Anna in Frozen, “Wait, what?” Because no conversation with kids would be complete without a whole lotta weird.
As you may know from my profile (but probably don’t, because let’s be honest, who actually reads those things?) I have four kids, ages almost-8 down to 2.5. As briefly as I can, because talking about my kids and brief never quite seem to work together, let me introduce them to you.
My Birdie’s in second grade and reads every fairy-tale-ish book she can find and still says “Ew!” when characters kiss (I’m hopeful she’ll keep saying “ew” for many years to come).
My Froggy’s in Kindergarten and he’s my human pinball (bounces off the furniture), and will ask us questions for hours, like “Why do tornadoes want to tear up your house?” and “Why do zombies eat brains?” (Those “hours” usually start at bedtime.)
My Baby B is in pre-K and where Birdie is the Queen of What If and Froggy’s the King of Why, Baby B doesn’t ask. She tells. And when she tells, you’d better listen. (Somewhere in Florida, she has a castle and a dungeon and guards.)
My Lion is in his first year of preschool, and he’s a tease and a sweetheart and I suspect he’s figured out the Meaning of Life, and he can’t quite tell us, yet.
Yesterday evening, I sat down with them and asked them questions about what they like to read. And since I’ve talked enough already, let me share with you their answers, which range from insightful to interesting to “Wait, what?”
Why do you like to read?
Birdie (daughter, almost 8): Because it’s quiet and helps me focus.
Froggy (son, 6.5): Because it's so good for you.
Baby B (daughter, 4): Because I like Beauty and the Beast.
Lion (son, 2.5): 'Cause I want Daddy.
What are some of your favorite books?
Birdie: The Ever After High series, Ella Enchanted, the Whatever After books.
Froggy: Minecraft books, Plants vs. Zombies books, Ninja Turtle books. Can you say "What's your favorite movie?” Me: Um... What's your favorite movie? Him: Ev-rything is awesome! That means The Lego Movie. (Baby B: My favorite movie is Let it Go! Frozen!)
Baby B: Beauty and the Beast, The Black Cauldron... (Me: Those are movies. What about books?) Her: Oh. Uh. I don't know!
Lion: A penny.
What do you love to read about?
Birdie: Mermaids, fairies, princesses, kittens.
Froggy: Minecraft, Plants vs. Zombies, Ninja Turtles, sea germs.
Baby B: Beauty and the Beast, Beauty and the Beast, Beauty and the Beast. And princesses. And dragons. And The Black Cauldron. (Birdie: She can't even read The Black Cauldron.)
Lion: A book.
What do you never want to read about?
Birdie: Snakes, monsters, serpents, ogres.
Froggy: Um...nothing? (Me: So you want to read about everything? Froggy: I want to...[looking at what I’m writing]...wait, is that really words? That looks like scribble-scrabble to me.)
Baby B: I do not like Pete the Cat stepping on mud! That's P-U! Pete the Cat can not step in pee or poopy! P-U! (OH, good, I was afraid we were going to go through this whole conversation without someone mentioning human waste.)
Lion: Not a roaring book.
Do you like to read about characters who are the same age as you, or older, or younger?
Birdie: Any age
Baby B: I love bumblebees. I love boy bumblebees because boy bumblebees do not sting you. Girl bumblebees do sting you. (Birdie: She does not get it!)
Who is your favorite book character?
Birdie: Madeline Hatter (from the Ever After High series by Shannon Hale)
Froggy: Zomboss. (This is a character in the Plants vs. Zombies video game...but apparently, also in the books.)
Baby B: Belle and the Beast.
If you could live anywhere in a book you've read, where would you live?
Birdie: Ever After, Mermaid World, a castle, on TV. (I asked her later about "on TV," and she explained she thought it would be cool to live in a TV show, so she just added it.)
Froggy: I would live in the bookstore.
Baby B: In the Beauty and the Beast book. Because I want to see Prince Hans and kick him. (Me: That's Frozen. Do you mean Gaston?) Her: Yeah! I'm going to kick Gaston out of the TV so no one can see him anymore and tie him up and lock him in my dungeon and (something else and something else and I am SO sleeping with one eye open tonight).
If you were a character in a book, who or what would you be?
Birdie: A mermaid, a fairy, a princess, or an elf.
Froggy: [whispers] I don't want to get killed. So, not a bad guy. A good guy who never ever gets killed. By the bad guys. Or swords. Or hot lava.
Baby B: The Beast. Because I want to see Belle. Or Anna (from Frozen, of course.) Does Anna have powers? (Me: No.) Her: Does Elsa have powers? (Me: Yes.) Her: Oh. Okay. Elsa.
Lion: Um, uh, [grins and pats his chest] Li-e-on.*
* He actually said his own name, but, you know, two-year-old privacy and all.
What is the best thing about reading?
Birdie: Exciting parts, of course!
Froggy: You get to learn more words! *runs off and grabs our mini-canister vacuum cleaner* Come on, R2D2! Let's go!
Baby B: Bumblebees. Can you draw a small hand?
Lion: [the cat jumps up onto his chair with him] Oh! There's Lessa! Mommy, I find Lessa! I already find Lessa! [hugging her] Aw, you so sweet. She want to lie down with me! ...oh. A book.
So there you have it, folks. A glimpse inside the heads of young kids. Just close your eyes, breathe in, breathe out. Give in to the crazy.
That's what I do. And, hey, sometimes it even works.
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