So now we are working on the basics; the three "R's" and I am reading all types of books to the kids.
I pulled out my dog-eared Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and told the boys they were in for a treat. Can you imagine being able to listen to that story for the first time once again? And as much as I enjoyed the first screen adaption with Gene Wilder (I refuse to watch or discuss the newer version with Johnny Depp, YUCK!), I wanted my boys to listen to the book first. Other than Jaws, I haven't ever seen a movie adaption that was better than the book.
So I started reading it yesterday and 98 pages later (it is a 160 page book) my voice was almost gone. I never knew a three-year-old could sit still that long and Duke was completely mesmerized. "Read one more chapter, PLEASE!". Today we completely finished the book (a record) and when I closed it Duke turned to me and said "Read it again, please".
I have to confess I have a bit of a book addiction myself. I never go anywhere without one in my purse or hand. I am like a kid in the candystore every time I walk in the library or visit a bookstore. If I had to choose between coffee or books I would pick books in a heartbeat. My husband want's to surprise me with a gift? Please make it an Amazon gift card; diamonds and flowers are BORING!
I have to share a long passage (edited from the original to save my fingers from exhaustion) from Charlie and the The Chocolate Factory with you. I love the Oompa-Loompas' songs about the naughty childen and my favorite is the one about television. I actually used this passage as a reading in drama class in middle-school.
My husband and I watch some TV at night after the boys go to bed (I am a news junkie), but I don't let my boys watch it at all right now. They watched plenty when we were sick with mono, so I decided to have them quit cold turkey and they have handled it great. I know I will turn it on in the future, but it is fun to see how long the kids can go without the idiot-box. And I have some nature videos for those emergency times (sickness or grumpy mom).
So here it goes!
"The most important thing we've learned,
So far as children are concerned,
Is never, never, NEVER let
Them near your television set-
In almost every house we've been,We've watched them gaping at the screen.
They loll and slop and lounge about,
And stare until their eyes pop out.
(Last week in someone's place we saw
A dozen eyeballs on the floor.)
They sit and stare and stare and sit
Until they're hypnotized by it,
Until they're absolutely drunk
With all of that shocking ghastly junk.
Oh yes, we know it keeps them still,
They don't climb out the window sill,
They never fight or kick or punch,
They leave you free to cook the lunch
And wash the dishes in the sink-
but did you ever stop to think,
To wonder just exactly what
This does to your beloved tot?
IT ROTS THE SENSES IN THE HEAD!
IT KILLS IMAGINATION DEAD!
IT CLOGS AND CLUTTERS UP THE MIND!
IT MAKES A CHILD SO DULL AND BLIND
HE CAN NO LONGER UNDERSTAND
A FANTASY, A FAIRYLAND!
HIS BRAIN BECOMES AS SOFT AS CHEESE!
HE CANNOT THINK-HE ONLY SEES!
"All right!" you'll cry. "All right!" you'll say,
"But if we take the set away,
What shall we do to entertain
Our darling children? Please explain!"
We'll answer this by asking you,
"What used the darling ones to do?
How used they keep themselves contented
Before this monster was invented?"
Have you forgotten? Don't you know?
We'll say it very loud and slow:
READ and READ,
AND READ and READ, and then proceed
to READ some more.
So please, oh please, we beg, we pray,
Go throw your TV set away,
And in its place you can install
A lovely bookshelf on the wall.
Then fill the shelves with lots of books,
Igoring all the dirty looks,
The screams and yells, the bites and kicks,
And children hitting you with sticks-
Fear not, because we promise you
That, in about a week or two
Of having nothing else to do,
They'll now begin to feel the need
Of having something good to read.
And once they start-oh boy, oh boy!
You watch the slowly growing joy
That fills their hearts. They'll grow so keen
They'll wonder what they'd ever seen
In that ridiculous machine,
That nauseating, foul, unclean,
Repulsive television screen!
And later, each and every kid
Will love you more for what you did.
You don't have to only read parenting books to be inspired, just pick up a great novel. Thanks Roald Dahl!!! Reading to your kids counts as doing Nothing, watching TV is doing nothing. ;-)