Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Storyteller

This morning, Westley climbed in bed with me, snuggled in, and started telling me the story of Mrs. Lovewright and Purrless Her Cat. He recited the first few pages, almost word-for-word, pronouncing the words he knows perfectly, filling the sentences in with appropriately cadenced, believable-sounding nonsense words.

Just like I used to sing when I was little, I thought. Belt out the words you know, make up the ones you don't.

And then it hit me: He knows the whole story. He has the book memorized!

When Westley discovered that books were good for something other than teething on, he fell in love. Big time. Now he's almost always up for books, whether they're simple picture books or more complicated stories, like Mrs. Lovewright. He's always asking Rob or me (usually Rob) to "wee books" with him. Dinner conversation frequently revolves around the storybook or two that occupy the table along with plates and forks. We read pages between bites.

A remarkable portion of Westley's spoken vocabulary comes from the books we read to him. Often he'll say something ("caterwauled," "alphabet", "holy Toledo!") and I'll have to stop for a moment and wonder where he heard that. And then I'll realize--of course!--it's from a book.

Fortunately, he hasn't picked up anything objectionable or too annoying. But I know that time is coming. Especially since he's started committing whole books to memory, and there are some words (even in his current crop of storybooks) that I'd rather he not say on a regular basis. Westley's Mrs. Lovewright recitation this morning was a potent reminder that he really is listening to everything.

I feel simultaneously amazed by and protective of Westley's little mind, expanding to contain all of these words and stories and ideas. I want to ensure that the stories he hears are good ones, filled with worthwhile morals and cool words. After all, I have things memorized that I wish I could get rid of: disturbing images from movies, mean remarks, commercial jingles. Most of that mental debris comprises things I encountered as a child, and it would be so satisfying to forget it once and for all, and make space for something better. A funny story about a lonely woman and her cat, for instance, where the message is, "Accept people for who they are."

I want to go through the books and weed out anything that's not really excellent. And I also want to dust off my mental library, peek through its contents, and recycle the things I don't agree with any more. After all, Westley is making space inside himself to hold all of the stories I tell him--whether or not they come from books.



emily bilbrey said...

wow, lady - what a great post!! i love that little man is memorizing books already. how wonderful for both of your that he adores stories. you've got a future full of lovely, cuddly precious moments ahead of you! i was just like west as a kid; a love for reading that was almost never satisfied. my mom never limited my access to great books, and we read together every day, which i am still thankful for. i'm so excited for the day that poppy will discover books are for something other than being gnawed on/pitched on the floor (in the mean time i still read them to her, albeit with rather soggy corners at times...)

thanks for sharing stories of your awesome kid - i always enjoy the honesty and humor in your writing. hope all is well with the new home and the new year. cheers!

周杰倫Jay said...

cool!i love it!情色遊戲,情色a片,情色網,性愛自拍,美女寫真,亂倫,戀愛ING,免費視訊聊天,視訊聊天,成人短片,美女交友,美女遊戲,18禁,三級片,自拍,後宮電影院,85cc,免費影片,線上遊戲,色情遊戲,日本a片,美女,成人圖片區,avdvd,色情遊戲,情色貼圖,女優,偷拍,情色視訊,愛情小說,85cc成人片,成人貼圖站,成人論壇,080聊天室,080苗栗人聊天室,免費a片,視訊美女,視訊做愛,免費視訊,伊莉討論區,sogo論壇,台灣論壇,plus論壇,維克斯論壇,情色論壇,性感影片,正妹,走光,色遊戲,情色自拍,kk俱樂部,好玩遊戲,免費遊戲,貼圖區,好玩遊戲區,中部人聊天室,情色視訊聊天室,聊天室ut,做愛