I had the most ingenious idea the other day. Rather than give my littles cash rewards for doing so well in school this year, I gave them each an Indigo gift card with instructions that it must be used to purchase a book or two for the summer. How on earth did I, an honours student in English Literature, a prolific reader and a book enthusiast, give birth to not one but three non-readers? It makes absolutely no sense. They grew up being read to. They have been surrounded by books their entire lives. In fact, we have six book shelves overflowing with books and only nine rooms in my house. That is a bookshelf for every room of my house except the bathrooms (and if you walked into any of my bathrooms at this moment you would find that all but one have a stack of books in them. I can't bring myself to take a book in the bathroom. Call me weird, but I can't.) Okay, so to say they are a bunch of non-readers may be harsh. I guess I should clarify this. Yes, my children read. In fact, they beg me to read to them all the time. Each of them goes to bed at night with a stack of books beside them, but, and here is where my heart breaks, they are always comic books or graphic novels. Don't get me wrong; comic books have merit, and in fact, I particularly enjoy a good dose of Calvin and Hobbes, but as a lover of novels, big honking, invest a good portion of your life, novels (is it any surprise that I did my honours in Victorian literature?), I long to come across one of my children curled up on the couch engrossed in a novel and transported away to some fictitious world.
Anyhoo . . .
So, on Tuesday, I took the kids to the book store. Zoe shocked me a month ago when she entered my room one night and made this official proclamation:
I am going to read a book this summer.
I hate to admit it, but I did let out a squeal of delight, to which she immediately rolled her eyes at. I couldn't help myself, though. Of all my kids, Zoe is my worst reader. Sure, she can read, but she doesn't. This announcement was big news, and I was absolutely shocked and amazed that she spent the next four weeks researching books that may interest her. When this girl sets her mind on something, there is no stopping her; therefore, when we arrived at the book store, Zoe immediately headed to the teen section and began her search. Within ten minutes, she emerged with not one, not two, but three books! I wanted to let out another squeal of delight, but I was so fearful that she may put all of the books back in disgust at a public display of my extreme nerdiness, that I held it in. That was a close one!
Avery, who for lack of a better word is our house suck-up, loves nothing more than to please his mama and outshine his siblings, and so he attacked the kids' section with a vengeance. In the hour that we were there, that boy must have chosen at least twenty books, but in the end, he settled with a Hardy Boys book and a Simpson's comic (don't judge me; I caved! We all do it.)
Since Zoe and Avery had no problems at all finding books to read, you may be wondering why we were in the book store for an hour. I will give you one guess . . . come on, you know the answer to this one. Yep, you guessed it - Elliot! The first thing Elliot did when we walked into the children's section at Indigo was go to the toy section in spite of his mama's warnings that under no circumstances would we be purchasing a toy. Of course, while he was there, he fell in love with a plastic bow and arrow set that was outrageously overpriced.
Mom, if you let me take one dollar off of my gift card to go towards this toy, I have enough money to buy this on my own.
Mom . . . .
Mom . . . .
Mom . . . .
Mom . . . .
And then he became fixated on purchasing the bow and arrow. It did not matter how many books we showed him or how many times I told him that there was no way he would be walking out of that store with that bow and arrow in his hands, he would not give up.
But, mom . . . .
Mom . . . .
Mom . . .
This his how we spent our hour. By the end of it, he was in the middle of the teen section, with tears in his eyes, defiantly standing his ground and declaring:
I AM NOT A READER!!!!!
Finally, I calmly looked at him, and told him he could either choose a book at this very moment or we would be coming back another day.
YOU ARE THE WORLD'S WORST MOTHER!
He begrudgingly grabbed the book Zoe had found for him and huffed and puffed the entire way up to the check-out, muttering under his breath how much he hates me. He purchased the book. Then we went to Costco. After I loaded the groceries in the trunk and hopped into the van, I noticed that he had picked up his new book and was looking at it. Then, when we were in line waiting for the ferry, I noticed that he was actually reading it. By the time we arrived home, he was laughing and sharing funny things that the main character had done. Then, as we were putting the groceries away, Elliot came up to me and said:
Mom, I don't want that bow and arrow anymore. It would probably just break.
And as much as I wanted to gloat, to sing and to dance my way around the kitchen shouting "I was right!", I nodded in agreement and when his back was finally turned, I smiled the biggest and most cheesiest grin of all time.
Oh, yea! Who won this one? That would be me.
^^In the parking lot of Costco^^
^^Waiting in line at the ferry^^
^^The next day on the ferry. This boy can't put it down!^^
I am the happiest mama on earth, the worst mama mind you, but, nonetheless, the happiest!
. . . tee hee!