Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A case for illiteracy

Although we have at least a hundred kids' books downstairs in the family room, we never really read upstairs to G until he got his bed. His routine was milk in the chair, snuggles, then down in the crib.

[Complete tangent: yesterday L was so angry at me that she threatened me: I will never snuggle you again!]

Now that G has a bed, he loves to read in it just like he's always seen his sisters do at night. He's on a boardbooks-only diet; little dude hasn't learned much gentility yet. As soon as we enter his room he begins gesturing aggressively: booh! booh! which means 'book' in Toddler, and he throws a dozen books into his bed. The girls have a strict limit: two books or two chapters of a book per night. The girls object to G's literary feast. But most of his books only have a few pages of only a few words each, and we almost never complete a single one - little G likes to throw them over the bed rail as soon as he loses interest in that particular story.

Only when the whole pile has been thrown overboard will G agree to lay down his sweet, sweaty head. We turn out the lights and he clutches my ears, or the husband's, and finally he falls asleep. Sadly, G's been having some insomnia lately. I think he's beginning to cut his two-year molars. On Monday night (Tuesday morning?) he woke up at about 1:30am. He screamed and screamed and wouldn't be consoled, repeatedly climbing to the edge of his bed, pointing toward the door and pleading go? go?

While I knew that he was really asking to go downstairs, I ultimately convinced him to come into our bed. He paid me back for that compromise, though, by remaining completely awake and punishing me in the worst sort of limbo: my body could have fallen asleep instantly, but every thirty seconds or so I was kicked in the ribs or poked in the eye. Eye? Eye? Two eyes, two pokes. Noh? He pinched my nose. He'd lift my shirt and zerbert my belly and clap for himself in appreciation of the effort. And so he played on my body/his toy for about two hours, not even having the courtesy to feign sleepiness.

Around 3:30am E had a nightmare and came into our bed and I was never more glad to see her. I called for the lovely husband, who had been awake downstairs catching up on some work, and told him he needed to take G. And then I fell asleep in record speed.

The next morning I asked how the night had concluded. "I finally got him to sleep," reported the lovely husband. "How?" I asked, incredulous and curious.

"Around 4am, I offered to read him some books. So we read, and then he lay right down on the pillow."

Nobody needs books to read that badly, kid. And if you do, you need to wait until you can hold a flashlight and read to yourself.
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