Today I have pleased the fickle fates. My spaztastic keyboard spontaneously healed itself; it was fine this morning when I came downstairs. I typed extra words, waiting for the cursor to start leaping around on the screen, but my keyboard coolly kept placing the letters one after another in logical succession. I think I heard it laughing at me. (“Great job screwing with her mind!” the mouse snickered to its companion. “She’s actually wondering if maybe she imagined all of that last night!”)
Also, I’m pretty sure my hair grew a little bit last night. Really. It so did. JUST LET ME BELIEVE THAT AND SMILE AND NOD. Thanks. You’re pretty.
And lastly, I got an invitation to participate in a migraine study! That’s GOT to be a good sign! Because, you know, usually my migraines only get me, oh, pain and vomiting and whatnot. They don’t often pay $50. But maybe my luck is turning.
Needless to say, armed with all of these favorable omens, I started thinking about Christmas shopping.
I know. It’s not even Halloween. It’s a sickness.
But, see, here’s the thing. My son has suffered a full-blown case of Pokemonitis that is showing no signs of fading, and I’m trying to determine if I need to finally get into this product line and start providing him with… ummm… I don’t know. Pokemon cards? Electronic Pokemon toys? Electroshock therapy to cure him of this addiction? I’m trying to figure it out.
He’s been talking about Pokemon for a looooong time, of course. There’s this bizarre osmosis that happens between little boys. Monkey goes to school, he comes home speaking in tongues about water creatures and special attacks and before I know what’s happened, he’s carrying around a red and white pokeball which houses any variety of MOST IMPORTANT items. I ignored it for as long as I could. “Look, something shiny!” I would offer. Or, “Hey, let’s go play with ANYTHING AT ALL that you will not insist is training to beat me in the ultimate battle!”
But it turns out that I have been… defeated. What was once my ally has become my enemy. I’ve been betrayed by my love of the written word.
Do you have ANY IDEA how many Pokemon books there are? It makes me a little bit dizzy to contemplate it, frankly. Because so far I’ve only had to read one of them to Monkey, and to save you the trouble of checking it out yourself, I shall summarize.
In Charizard, Go!, we follow the story of how Ash–a 10-year-old who has absent parents, two friends who follow him around and point out when he’s being a dumbass, and a chirpy Pikachu whom I imagine squishing between my thumb and forefinger until he Pikachokes–captured this little wounded Charmander one day and everything was grand until it evolved into a Charmeleon. At that point, it stopped listening to Ash! The horror!! But Ash kept trying to get it to battle for him, and eventually it evolved again, into a Charizard, which would normally be a very formidable Pokemon, except that this one hates Ash’s guts and has the habit of taking naps when Ash begs him to battle. It’s quite gripping and in the end Charizard once again ignores Ash and Ash loses the biggest tournament of his career, but he doesn’t give up. Because he’s one plucky kid, that Ash.
I wished, several times, that the book would end with Charizard flambeing Ash and devouring him with some fava beans and a nice Chianti, but no.
Anyway. THE POINT HERE is that my darling Monkey, my sweet son who is fast approaching age 6 and is generally content to go with the flow and stick with what’s easy, wants to learn to read. He’s SO CLOSE. He’s working really hard at it; sounding out everything he sees, asking me if he’s correctly figured out the first letter of the word he’s been mulling over with furrowed brow. There is not a single book he’s been willing to pore over with me and actually attack the letters and words… not Dr. Seuss, none of the old favorites… save for this stupid Pokemon book. For Ash and flying lizards, he is willing to wade through his frustration and try to break the code once and for all.
I am totally buying that kid every Pokemon toy on the market this holiday season. Pretty much I will do anything–anything at all–to avoid ever having to read him another one of those books. When he can read them himself, I can cheerfully feed him a never-ending literary diet of Pokemon adventures without having to partake, myself.
On the other hand, once he evolves into an independent reader, it’s official. No more little kids for me. I still trap Chickadee and demand she allow me to read to her, but it’s not the same as it was before she could do it herself. And it won’t be with Monkey, either. I can’t stop him, so I suppose I’ll encourage him.
Part of me is looking forward to not having to stumble over the names of imaginary battle creatures or trying not to roll my eyes as I read through the world’s most insipid dialogue. And part of me is thinking that evolution is highly overrated.