Saturday, December 18, 2010

R - Reading

When my BBs were little, I wanted to instill in them a love of reading as rich as the one I have. And so their bedtime routine consisted of two things for as long as they would let me - a song and a story. In the month of December, the song was always Away in a Manger, and the story was always Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

I don't remember having read The Grinch a lot as a child. I remember Dr. Seuss' A B Cs and The 500 Hats of Bartholemew Cubbins and Horton Hears a Who, but my childhood memories of The Grinch tend more towards the animated film from 1966 that we would watch in the Don Titus elementary school library.

Be that as it may, I bought a special anniversary edition of How The Grinch Stole Christmas in time for BB1's second Christmas and a tradition was born. Some years the reading on Christmas Eve included their cousins, all of us in pjs on our big couch. And one year BB2 got so focused on the story, as he is wont to do with interests, that we read it and sang Away in a Manger for about 6 months.

By the end of that time we all pretty much had the story memorized, and even now, 10 years after I last read it to my now 'too big for stories' boys, I can recite a lot of the beginning:

All the whos down in Whoville liked Christmas a lot,
But the Grinch who lived north of Whoville did not.
The Grinch hated Christmas - the whole Christmas season.
Now please don't ask why; no one quite knows the reason.
It could be, perhaps, that his shoes were too tight.
Or maybe his head wasn't screwed on just right.
But I think the most likely reason of all
Must have been that his heart was two sizes too small.
But whatever the reason - his heart or his shoes -
the Grinch stood there on Christmas Eve hating the Whos.
They're hanging their stockings, he snarled with a sneer.
Tomorrow is Christmas - it's practically here! ...

I loved those times. The BBs correcting a misplaced word, or reading along. BB1 eventually wanting to be the reader. And, it worked. I have never since referred to a chunk of meat in the oven as anything but 'roast beast,' and my sons both love reading as much as I do. They have active, capacious minds that seek to be filled. And, even better, we all have a soft spot for that funny looking green man whose heart grew three sizes that day.

Some traditions are time limited. Your children won't always sit on Santa's knee or want to read a story written in rhyming couplets. But they'll always remember that that's what you used to do, and so the traditions live.

1 comment:

  1. Thx Shannon. I love that my boys are both voracious readers as well. It really works hen I declare a pj day and we share the couch or window seat, drinking tea and reading together. We've got the original recording of the Grinch which we listen to faithfully every year too. It's one of the few traditions I started that has survived the test of time.


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