Unwrapping a guest post today
JUST FOR FUN
#TFW You Realize You’re Raising a Little Book-Lover
by Iva-Marie Palmer
I knew we were in trouble when we began packing for a three-day trip up the coast — five hours each way and a couple of days at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. I packed three paperbacks and my Kindle, which allows me to bring several hundred books anywhere I go.
And then our 6-year-old son, Clark, started packing. “Do you really need six Magic Tree House books?” I asked.
“They’re not all Magic Tree House!” He named the titles and he was right: Two weren’t Magic Tree House. But he had EIGHT books.
As I made room in my suitcase for his reads, I had one of those #TFW moments (“TFW” is Internet shorthand for “that feeling when…”) specific to having a child whose habits remind you of your own. My son’s reading obsession is one of the primary ways I know that my genetic makeup was passed on to him. (He definitely has his father’s eyes.) And judging by the way our 2-year-old son, Nathan, has taken to putting a book next to him in his stroller for even short walks down the block, I see many more such moments in our family’s future. If you have a voracious, packing-eight-books-for-three-days kind of reader at home, you’ll surely recognize these book-inspired #TFW moments:
TFW you have to sacrifice some of your precious shelf space. I’ve always abided by the Anna Quindlen quote, “I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves.” But having enough bookshelves when you have two baby bibliophiles’ collections joining your own? That’s a real challenge.
TFW you catch your kid reading over your shoulder. I don’t do it as often as I used to but when I get the chance to read with my morning coffee, in a quiet house, it’s bliss. But it’s not uncommon for a little voice to sound behind me, saying something like, “What was the fatal mistake she’s talking about?” I have high hopes for a mom-kid book club one day.
TFW your kid gets into the same author you loved as a child. I brought home a paperback copy of Judy Blume’s Tales of a Fourth-Grade Nothing and gave it to Clark, not expecting that he’d read it immediately, but hoping that he’d find it in his to-read pile and be charmed. Three hours later, I had to remind him a half-dozen times that he was reading way past his bedtime. (While inwardly beaming.)
TFW you have a debate over dog-earing versus bookmarking. Clark and I are, fortunately, on the same page with this: Dog-earing might bother more than a few book-lovers out there, but you’re far less likely to lose your page if the book gets picked up the wrong way. Plus, if you’re juggling multiple books at once, who has enough bookmarks for all of them?
TFW your local librarian knows your child by name. Last year, we visited our branch so often that by the time the holidays rolled around, it only felt right to bring over a card and a poinsettia. When I make solo visits to look for books for myself, I’m inevitably asked by the librarians where Clark and Nate are.
TFW you catch them sharing their favorite books with their little brother or sister. Is there a better thing to stumble upon than your older kid reading a favorite picture book to your younger kid? No, there’s really not. For that reason, say nothing about how cute it is or the picturesque scene will immediately implode.
TFW you need to ask your child something and hear, “I just need to finish this chapter.” By the way, this is a perfectly acceptable reason to delay an answer to any question.
TFW your kid asks to send his first fan mail to an author. As a reader and a writer, if I can impart any lesson to my children: Authors love hearing from you and if you love a book, let them know!
TFW it’s hard to leave the bookstore because your child is sprawled in an aisle, halfway through the book he’s buying.There’s an adage that says you should never wake a sleeping child. I find it equally hard to disturb a reading one.
TFW your kid asks for must-read tomes for his birthday and holidays. I will never forget the letter we mailed to Santa that included a rundown of coveted picture books, all neatly listed to include title and author.
TFW you both pack way too many books for a long road trip. See the introduction to this article. And, actually, the trip doesn’t even have to be long. Or on the road. We almost never leave the house without each of my sons toting reading material but, as Lemony Snicket says, “Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.” We’re raising some very trustworthy kids, apparently.
About the author of the featured article today
Iva-Marie Palmer lives with her family in a book-laden house just outside Los Angeles. She is the author of two YA novels, The End of the World As We Know It and The Summers. She doesn't need to write a letter of advice to her 9-year-old self because that 9-year-old had already discovered the works of Judy Blume.
It's always wonderful to get other's input and ideas to share on Storywraps. I want to thank Iva-Marie Palmer for sharing today. She is a contributor for "Brightly" - Penguin Random House. (http://www.readbrightly.com)
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