Here's what I know: when you're hoping a child will read a book, you should use indirect means only (especially if that child is over 5). No pushing, no convincing, no making cases, no threats—just discreetly make the book available, get out of the way, and let nature take its course (more or less).
Here's what I did: got my copy of The Diamond in the Window, and essentially tried to cram it down Chestnut's throat (metaphorically, don't worry).
Me: It's so great!
Chestnut: It looks scary.
Me: It's not scary, I swear it. Well OK, the jack-in-the-box is a little scary, but it all ends up OK, I promise.
C: I'm not reading it.
M: Please, you have to read it.
C: I won't read it!
M: YOU HAVE TO READ IT.
This is because I am both a parenting and children's literature genius.
Happily, cooler heads prevailed. Which is just another way of saying that first I actually tried reading it aloud in her vicinity (what was I thinking?), until other members of the family restrained me, and I basically realized it's physically very difficult to force another person to read a book, unless you're dealing with a Clockwork Orange type of situation (which you will all be relieved to know I am not).
So I read it, Diana read it, pretty much nothing happened. Until I came home from work two days ago to see this:
This, my friends, is the entirely awesome depiction of the house in The Diamond in the Window, executed by…Chestnut.
She decided since I liked it so much, I should have a model. Here is the inside, including the rope ladder that the kids use to climb up to the part where the window is.
How did she know about the rope ladder? "Oh, I've been sort of reading it. I haven't read the whole thing or anything yet…"
She's thinking about, that's all. And making her own crazy excellent approach to something. In her own way. On her own schedule.
Parenthood is embarrassing.
8 thoughts on “Foiled Again”
Embarrassing, but completely understandable. I imagine I will have the same kind of impulse when my kids get old enough to choose for themselves.
“You WILL read The Phantom Tollbooth!”
“But Maaaa, I don’t wanna….”
“I am your MOTHER. And it is the BEST BOOK IN THE UNIVERSE.”
Hopefully, I will be able to restrain myself at these times. But it won’t be easy.
Excellent rope ladder!!!
Very timely post! I thought of you today when I found books that I wanted my daughter to read… I remembered how you talk about just leaving them lying around, so I tried it and lo! It worked!
Yes. Truly humiliating or, at best, humbling. Your girl sounds wonderful.
So where do you get that Clockwork Orange set up? When I was pregnant I made a list of about 100 books I really wanted my child to read/have read to her. So far I think we have maybe read four or five of them (she is 8).
Sometimes she asks me to read aloud to her what I am reading myself, I snuck in a Diana Wynne Jones book that way, I have to try it with Lloyd Alexander soon! It is so frustrating that she does not listen to my most excelent book recommending advice!
Laughed out loud at this post. Hysterical and true. Sometimes I wish I could buy an easy, portable, Clockwork Orange Ludovico technique home game. Wait, that was for aversion, though, right? Still useful, I suppose.
There’s a girl with some initiative and creativity. Way to go Chestnut! And good job Mom.
Love this – I got the book from our library and I’m reading it – it is not the kind of book I suspected at all. I would have ADORED it if I read it as a child – but probably not if my mom had tried to get me to read it! 🙂