On the reading-for-bedtime front, towards
the end of August (which in my mind is much closer than it is in
actuality), Chestnut and I started Anne of Green Gables. We'd finished
Caddie Woodlawn and a bunch of other olde-timey staunch-heroine-types
of books, and I just though…maybe?
As a child I was never interested in Anne of Green Gables,
though I (halfheartedly) tried. It was more the province of my older
sister, who went for what I thought of as the "good-girl" books: Little
Women, My Friend Flicka, The Five Little Peppers.
When Diana read the Green Gables books (or are they the Anne books?)
when she was 6 or so, I gave them a try and was pleasantly surprised.
Anne is unusual and vivid, disobedient (if inadvertently), smart,
self-aware and ambitious—in a word, interesting.
But reading it to Chestnut seemed daunting. It was the sentences that
worried me, long, dry, winking sort of sentences, that regard Anne with
an amused affection but also spend much time being wryly amused at the small-town people, the grownups and their penchants for gossip, very much the voice of an older aunt or something,
and not just an older aunt but one with 19th-century-style locution.
So I tried it. And she loved it. She was grabbed in that perfect way, begging for another chapter before
bed, begging for another chapter the next morning. It was wonderful, it
was fun, it made both of us so happy (though the problem of alternate
parents reading at night makes the grownups a bit fuzzy on just what is
happening when you come back after having skipped two chapters).
We've been less careful about it since school started. Some nights she
reads her own books, some nights time gets away from us and we have to
go to bed without reading anything. I worry that this is partly me just
not having the energy to tackle that extra bit of complication after these long days of getting people to school
and then going to work and then back to school—it takes it out of you.
I don't want to forget this though, I don't want to let it get away—she
loved those crazy wry sentences, we'll have to get it together. We can
still do bedtime books, we can still do unfamiliar syntax, we're not
going to let it go just because the world is too much for us—right?