My Chickadee is something of a perfectionist. I, of course, have NO IDEA where THAT comes from. Ahem. She walked late, which may have been partially due to her poor vision, but I think was more symptomatic of what would turn into her typical pattern: She doesn’t like to do things until she can do them flawlessly. She had a very short period of time as a wobbly, lurching Frankenbaby. She waited and waited until I was convinced that she had cerebral palsy and I’d just never noticed, somehow, and then she got up and just… walked.
Same thing with reading. She was clearly smart, and capable, and yet, she resisted until she could sit down and devour chapter books. And that’s just what she did. The child is usually reading no less than four books at a time, and she leaves them strewn throughout the house and piled around her backpack like a trail of breadcrumbs.
I have long since given up on convincing her to read just one book at a time. This is her way. She starts a book from off the shelf here at home; then she gets a book at the school library and abandons the first to work on that one; then she goes to the public library with her dad, and starts a third book. When she comes back home, she remembers the first book, and goes back to that one. Then the next day at school, she borrows a book from the classroom.
Lather, rinse, repeat.
Sometimes the process is interrupted by her misplacing a book into the void of the great beyond, although this never happens with books we OWN. No. Only borrowed books are sucked into the alternate dimension. Does this bother my child? No, it does not. She simply moves on to a different book. Which isn’t hard, since she’s probably reading several others already.
What does she read? Anything. Everything. She’ll be reading a Narnia book one day and then some insipid Mary-Kate and Ashley and the Big Hairbow Mystery or somesuch the next. Weird Animal Facts here at home, then Know Your Fifty States at school. I pretty much give her free reign on material. If she’s capable of reading it, pretty much, I let her. I mean, I hate those Olsen Twins books for a million reasons, but I don’t stop her from reading them.
Well, it was little surprise to me that on the heels of having misplaced a public library book, Chickadee announced that she’d borrowed a book from the classroom. “It’s a HARD ONE, Mama,” she told me. “I keep reading the same first couple of pages, because I’m having trouble following it.”
This was surprising to me. I inquired about the book, and she told me it was about a girl who gets an invitation to go somewhere and goes on an adventure. Sounded good to me. Chickadee offered to read it out loud for a bit. I said sure.
Kristi Farley sat down on the living-room couch and pushed back a strand of her dark brown hair as she, for the tenth time, reread the letter from Celia Gordon. Her light blue eyes scanned the delicate handwriting as she wondered whether or not this was a dream come true.
Chickadee paused to gulp air. Those are some long sentences, I thought to myself. It sounds like this book is really pushing the limits of her reading level. I bet it’s aimed at tweens.
“Haven’t you memorized that thing yet?” Betty Collins, Kristi’s petite [Chickadee stumbled, pronounced it pet-it, and I corrected her] blonde roommate, said as she applied a light gloss to her lips.
Wait. Roommate? Lip gloss??
She continued reading, but I wasn’t listening very closely. Something about an invitation to Greenbrier, in the mountains, she was so excited….
“And you’ve been given a leave of absence by that handsome boss of yours. You’ll whip up those canvases in no time.”
“Um, Mama? I don’t understand what that means about the canvases.”
I explained about painters using canvas. She nodded and turned back to the book. I took it out of her hands. “Honey, let me look at this for a minute, please.”
Would you like to know what it says inside the jacket of the book my daughter brought home from her SECOND GRADE CLASSROOM? Of course you would.
Kristi Farley, a talented young painter, is pleasantly surprised when she’s invited to spend a month at Greenbrier, a luxurious estate in Vermont. Celia Gordon, the owner of Greenbrier and a patron of the arts, has issued her invitation so that Kristi can enjoy an atmosphere of beauty and peace as she finishes some canvases for her upcoming art show.
Greenbrier is even more beautiful than Kristi had hoped. Her artwork goes well and her hostess is a good, motherly friend. But all is not peace and quiet. For Kristi finds herself drawn to handsome Grant Hayden, a man she has no right to love. Then she finds a secret enemy at Greenbrier who’ll stop at nothing to drive her away. But she simply can’t understand why.
That’s right. My daughter came home with housewife porn.
I may have had a little bit too much fun with the email I sent her teacher. He’s going to be mortified, I think. Where do you suppose it came from? Did it fall into a box when he was at the store, stocking up on supplies for the class? Is it his wife’s? Is it HIS? I may never know.
But I do know that Kristi and Grant finally kiss in Chapter 12.
“We shouldn’t have done that,” Kristi said.
“I know,” Grant said. “But it happened and I have no regrets.”
I don’t want my daughter reading that crap. So I gave her a Harold Robbins novel instead.
**Update, Friday morning**
I pink puffy heart Mr. Wonderful. Here’s the email I got back from him:
Part of our second grade studies is to cover some of the classic romances… JUST KIDDING!!! I do apologize, as I have no idea how that book got into my classroom library. Thank you so much for having the wonderful sense of humor that you do.
PS. I’ll help Chickadee choose a book that is more to her age. I believe I have a copy of War and Peace around here somewhere :)