a very dear person in my life gave us the book blueberries for sal by mccloskey some years back. i pulled it off the shelf last week, wondering if i could entice ander and incorporate it into his repertoire. lately we've been back on the usbornes farmyard tales routine, and though it's way fun for him, i think we could use a teensy little break from apple tree farm.
boy, was that ever successful! i don't know what it is - the black-and-white sketches, the story line, the fact that it has mothers and offspring - i guess it doesn't really matter what it is that's appealing, as long as it is. i wonder, though, because i assume if i can figure out the secret to what's so interesting, i can apply that principle to choosing other successful books with a greater frequency, a higher hit rate, if you will.
it MUST be read multiple times in the day. ALWAYS by mommy. and that pleases me. it is our special time. daddy is good for reading almost any book, and in fact is the preferred reader for specific books, probably because of the silly voices he uses, like in spring green. i personally enjoy his readings of a.a. milne from now we are six and when we were very young. but this one is mine, at least for now.
over the week, the experience has evolved. i was able to purchase a large tub of fresh blueberries - dried ones won't do. there is a spot in our family room that ander calls "the bushes" where we sit and read and eat blueberries from the tub. i found containers that satisfy the need for a small tin pail and a large tin pail - lo and behold, when you drop three blueberries inside, they DO sound like kuplink! kuplank! kuplunk!
we've acted out "hustling" and "tramping" and "gasping" and talked about how little sal and little bear and little sal's mother and little bear's mother feel when they get all mixed up on blueberry hill. he takes a "Tremendous Mouthful" (represented by one rather large berry, thank goodness) on cue and pretends to hunt around for me.
we have developed a rhythm to our reading together. i can now sense (most of the time) when he wants to read a word or sentence or paragraph or whole page on his own and when it is my turn to read. i am patient and wait for him to read it at his own pace, so he self-corrects when given the time and opportunity and accepts correction when offered gently. this is truly an interactive activity. it is not a discussion, like what diana and her friends are able to do in book club, but it is a shared experience nonetheless that meets both of our needs. it is not to be rushed through, but savored. it is an excellent practice in being fully present in the moment.
i am happyer at home today because i can smell the orange blossom fragrance from my neighbor's tree as i stand at the kitchen sink washing dishes. i can share the amazement of watching the roses our neighbor cut for us bloom and fill the room with a delightful scent. and i can eat blueberries with my little boy, snuggled up and perfectly content.