You know I love books. We read so many that they are a huge influence on Juliet and her perception of the world. While mostly a good influence, sometimes they create some humorous situations around our house. Here are a few things that I blame entirely on books.
1. My name is Joe.
Yes, you read that right. It’s not Vanessa as you have been led to believe and as my mother has been telling me all these years–well, at least not if you ask Juliet. For the past 3 months, I have been Joe (the kindly fireman in The Fire Cat) and Juliet has been going by the name Pickles. If you try to address her by any other name, she simply will not acknowledge you. And if I happen to forget that I am Joe, well, let’s just say I get a pretty agitated cat on my hands.
2. My child often speaks in antiquated English.
This cannot be blamed on one particular book, but rather to the steady diet of vintage books I have read to her since she was old enough to sit still and listen to a story. If I had been reading Shakespeare to her for the past 4 years (I haven’t, by the way), she’d be saying things like “hark”, “alas”, and “good morrow.” Thankfully, phrases like “I’d be delighted!” jump out of her mouth when I ask her if she’d like to feed the cat. She describes herself as “angry and cross” when she’s not getting her way, and very often uses the word “awfully” to describe her adjectives. (as in “That shirt is awfully blue, mommy!”)
3. She thinks ZZZs appear above her head when she closes her eyes and pretends to sleep.
No matter how many times I tell her that those ZZZs only appear above sleeping people in books or in cartoons, she still insists that I look at her ZZZs while she lays on her bed with her eyes closed. Then she opens her eyes, looks around for the ZZZs and is visibly disappointed to not see them.
That is exactly how a child’s expectation is similar to that of us adults. For instance, when I came across an article on top10cryptorobots.com about automated trading robots, I was for a moment visualizing a robot dealing with all transactions and handing me over the cash that it has earned in my place.
4. She yells “Run for your lives!” whenever we walk through the grocery store parking lot.
My husband loved the Frog and Toad books when he was a kid and has passed on his love of them to Juliet. She’s picked up several phrases from Toad and one of them is this. Anytime a car is coming towards us, she screams, “Run for your lives!” at the top of her lungs. I grab her hand and we run as fast as we can into the store. What else can I do?
5. She thinks wives are supposed to live inside pumpkins.
This one came to surface this fall when Ben and Juliet were deseeding a pumpkin. After they had cleaned it out, she said to him, “Okay. I’m just going to put my wife inside here for a little bit.” It turns out she’s not exactly clear on what a wife is. I would be worried that she would be trying to put me in it when she finally figures it out, but remember, I’m Fireman Joe. So, I’m safe.
6. She narrates her own actions.
Sometimes I hear her say things like, “And she dashed into the room!” as she runs into her bedroom. She’s a character in her own story! It always makes me smile.
7. She also narrates conversations her toys have with each other.
Instead of just making them talk, she will add, “she said” after they say something. Writing a story will be a cinch when she finally starts school! She’s been writing her own stories in her head since she started playing with toys.
8. She stamps her hands and feet every time she gets a hold of an inkpad and stamper.
Thanks to Bear, Your Manners Are Showing by Kathleen A. Meyer, a story in which a mama bear teaches her baby bear the importance of manners by stamping the words “please,” “thank you,” “you’re welcome,” and “I’m sorry” on his paws, inkpads are no longer safe. Without fail, every time we get the inkpad down for a project, she immediately rips off her socks and begins furiously stamping “her manners” on her feet and hands. It doesn’t seem to bother her that “her manners” are not actual words, but images of ducks, cows, and Tinkerbell, she still insists that they NEED to be there.
9. Her imagination is always on.
As well as always having to remember I am Joe (or Princess Jasmine depending on day), I often have to do a little thinking to figure out what she is talking about. A few months ago, I asked her where a certain toy was and she answered, “Oh. It’s downstairs in a hollow tree.” Turns out it was in a basket that was serving as a hollow tree, but somehow I wasn’t aware of that. Good thing I wasn’t looking for my keys.
10. Our cat is not allowed to play with her own cat toys.
Thanks to the magic of Leo Lionni’s Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse, kitty’s two large furry mice toys are now sleeping in Juliet’s bed every night. Why, you ask? Because they are Alexander and Willy–the two lovable mice from the story.
I think I could probably go on and on with this list, but let’s stop there. What about your kids? How have story books influenced their lives?
Linking to Top Ten Tuesday at OhAmanda!