Every night before bed, we read to The Boy. We started reading chapter books about a year ago because the husband and I were bored with the picture books we read all the time. We read The Wizard of Oz and The BFG and Charlotte's Web. He loved them. Then, we read the first Harry Potter and I figured that would be it for that series for awhile because the the stories get a little complicated after that first one -- and really, even in the first one, what with Voldemort living on the back of a teacher's head, you know. But The Boy liked it and followed it, so we kept going.
We're almost done with book three now, and some of it is, admittedly, a bit over his head. But we go over words or parts we think might be confusing and he gets it. The basic drama of the story he follows without problems, and with our help, he gets enough of the rest to know the story. When a friend asked him the other night what we were reading, he said, "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. ... The hippogriff is going to be KILLED!"
If you've read the books, you know that third book gets rather action-packed and tension-filled toward the end. People are animals and vice versa; good guys are actually bad guys and vice versa; time travel comes up. The Boy is loving it. He lies in bed next to me, his whole body tense, chewing on his blanket and staring into the ceiling. When a big reveal is made, he whips his face toward me: "HO-LY COW! Sirius Black is a GOOD GUY. All ALONG. HO-LY!"
We used to say in college that we wished we could box up people we liked, people who cheered us up or made us laugh, and keep them on our shelves for bad days. I wish I could bottle up The Boy.
"Can we snuggle for a little bit?" The Boy asks every single night after we read. "Tell me a story about when you were a little girl."
I huffed about this a little tonight, laughing because he's so predictable.
"Pllllleeeeeeeease. Tell me another story. Again."
So I told him a story -- about getting in trouble on the playground -- and, as he always does, he then used the basic outline of my story to tell one of his own about him when he was in California.
"Time for hugs and kisses."
I tickled him, like I always do, asking, "Who's my favorite Little Rhys Monkey!?" And like always, he ran through everyone else in the house -- Daddy! Momma! The cat! -- until he couldn't giggle any more and breathlessly shouted, "ME!"
Then, tonight, he stole my line for himself.
"Good night. Don't let the bed bugs bite. I love you, Momma. I love you."