We got a notice about pink eye and head lice in J’s class. Again. Actually, I’m grouchy tonight for a whole host of reasons, both large and small, but I won’t bore you with them. Except, here’s J’s go-to bug-avoiding hairdo:

Instead, I’ll tell you about what we’re reading lately. M just finished The Good Liar by Gregory Maguire. Did you know that the author of Wicked has written tons of chapter books for kids? Well, he has. Many of them are funny, but this one is set in occupied France during WWII. The other night M volunteered that she didn’t like the mother in the story: she was “too intense” and “she’s not nice to their soldier”. And I managed to keep a poker face even though I know from my motherly quick-skim that the mother’s hiding a Jewish mother and daughter in her house and “their soldier” is the local German soldier occupying their village. Anyway, M finished the book, and we ended up talking a little bit about that time period, and she found it interesting. And here’s the thing: I love history & historical fiction. Not M. She’s generally all about funny books. So part of me wants to take this interest and run with it, but then, of course, we don’t really need to go all Holocaust at age 8. I’ve acquired scads of the more young-girl appropriate Dear America books, but they hold no appeal for M.

Meanwhile, Cute W has been reading bunches of Bloom County at bedtime with the girls. He loves Bloom County. They’re enjoying it, too. But every once in while I’ll be washing dishes and I overhear him reading about George Bush or stag parties or celibacy or catcalls. And I just hope that they won’t stop him for an explanation. Sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t. Well, at least I don’t have to have those conversations.

Different book tastes are one of my parental crosses to bear. Years ago M picked out Little House on the Prairie at the public library, and I started getting weepy right there at the circulation desk. But she never really got into the books. Meanwhile she resists anything remotely resembling fantasy. Which means that the entire Harry Potter series remains untouched on our shelves, along with A Wrinkle in Time. Which I read in the 3rd grade (M’s grade). Read and loved, I should say. So much that it was in the third grade that I picked my first-born’s name. It kills me that M has no interest in it whatsoever.

J has abandoned the fairy tales that we both love for the Daisy Meadows’ freakin’ Fairy books. Currently it’s Jade the Disco Fairy. I know, I know: any books that get a six-year-old excited about reading are good. But. . . booooorrrring. And no. She’s not reading these books herself. She’s still at the sounding-out single-syllable words, okay? Okay? She has yet to blossom, reading-wise. Which is too bad, because if she knew how to read them, maybe I could skip this series entirely.


  1. Becka

    Do you think The Good Liar would be good for an 8 year old boy? Austin is obsessed with reading so I’m always looking for new ventures. He’s OBSESSED with the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books and the Narnia saga to read. I had to laugh about the Bloom County stuff and the Bush reference (and you know where I stand with that! 🙂 He did his first book report last Spring on JFK – which couldn’t have thrilled my mother or myself more, if for no reason bc it irritated my father! 🙂

  2. Becka–sure. The main character, Marcel, is a boy about that age, and it’s a nice because it’s an easy read even though the setting/time period are unfamiliar. M likes Wimpy Kid, too, but was not interested in Narnia when W tried to sell her on it. M was painting her own Obama posters a couple of years ago. It was easier not to point them out to my father.

    Claire–great questions. One of the pages that I was reading when I put together a post said, re: discipline, that parents shouldn’t be alarmed about a firm, raised voice. Which I thought was a) totally wrong and b) almost spit-out-my-drink hilarious, because our nursery school teacher was known for having the sweetest, softest voice always, all the time.

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