September 6, 2007
This book brought many memories today. Sirah and I had a marathon reading afternoon. We read for about a half hour before her nap (about standard) and then she woke up grumpy and not wanting to face the world and decided the way to cope was for me to read to her. We climbed into our favorite leather chair with what I thought was a large stack of books - I had no idea what was to come! We read for two and a half hours straight with two short water breaks for me. She just kept wanting to read and read and read. She picked up The Giving Tree and we read it. At the end I looked down and she was crying, such a very sad cry. She reached up and grabbed my neck and clung. I asked her what was wrong and she said she was so very sad for the tree. She sat in my lap and cried for quite awhile as I comforted her. We had a bit of a discussion after that about giving and taking and about using paper towels in a bathroom - because once she asked me what the "These come from trees" sticker was and it stuck. Her tender heart took quite awhile to recover from reading this book today. I reached desperately for what might be a happy uplifting book and started reading once she had calmed enough. We read until she was calmed down and comforted and then headed to the skate park. I was thankful for the reprieve from reading - I love it but over 3 hours of read aloud time is a lot! Then of course more reading was inevitably to come at bedtime.
The second memory The Giving Tree gave us today brought just as strong of an emotional reaction but in the positive way from Ciaran. Sirah and I were finishing up dinner and I looked over to Ciaran who was "reading" on the couch. He enjoys looking at picture books but has lacked the confidence that unless it is a leveled reader that he is sure he can read every word he will simply not even try to read it. No matter how we encourage it or try to convince him he has been resolute on this point - claiming he is happy just to look at the pictures. I looked over and realized he was sounding out the words quietly to himself. I quickly looked away so he would not catch me watching him. It took a lot to not say something encouraging to him but I kept quiet and looked away.
A few moments later he came bounding over (he rarely just walks) super excited and sat right next to me and said "I think can read this book by myself!" I smiled and said I believe you can do you want to try. He sat right next to me and read the whole book and he was so excited and proud of himself. It brought him such joy and he took some ownership of his reading tonight I think. It is the first time in my recollection that he has chosen to read a book he was not assigned or that he did not know already with certainty that he could read. His excitement and energy was contagious and I was really proud of him and really excited.
So one book brought such completely different strong emotional reactions in my kids in one evening! What a great book it is too. And I choose this picture from the book because it makes me think of both my kids and their reactions today and besides we are a bunch of tree huggers here.
Read to those babies - maybe not for three hours :)