One day after a wind blown summer storm, my 7-year-old grandson, Matthew, and I collected fallen debris from trees and other rubble, piling fragments of dead branches in a corner of the deck. As we stacked final bits, I remarked how great it was to have his help. "Now, it's time to get the recycling bag, yes?”
“No. I have an idea.”
“Yup—you’ll see.” [...]
April 2007, on an impulse, I stepped into the Apple store in my local mall to check out the iPods on display. Smart phones had yet to arrive on the market. What I wanted to know was whether these small, sleek devices had a recording function? Specifically, could an iPod record conversations between Matthew, my seven-year-old grandson, and me? I asked, Tom, one of the sales associates.
“Sure, it just needs a microphone.” He retrieved a tiny black box from the rear of the store, attached it to an iPod and turned it on. We had a short conversation about the wonders of new technology. I put in the ear buds, dialed the recording, and listened to a nearly flawless replay of our exchange. [...]
I sink exhausted in my chair at lunch, my 4-year-old grandson sitting across from me, and hit the play button on the VCR so that the next episode of Thomas The Tank Engine rolls through while we eat. The morning has been endless moves from inside to outside, upstairs and down, [...]
Brian Doyle, exceptional father and author, writes about his infant son’s timing for spouting: “He was six months old and fatter than the later Marlon Brando and I peeled his moist stuff off and leaned over to blow raspberries into his capacious belly to make him snicker and up periscope! and fire at will, captain! Good thing I wear spectacles, is all I can say.” (Children & Other Wild Animals, 76) Besides sharing the hilarity of the incident (his wife laughed so hard she had to lie down), he tells his reader as he writes, he wants that moment back again, its utter outrageousness [...]
The secret to building kids’ connections to the printed page is through stories—the pot of gold in books and the imaginations of young children. My grandson, Matthew, loved to tell stories about how he thought the world worked, or, better yet, the violence and valor (in his mind) of dinosaurs: how they lived and how they died.
I loved to listen, my form of bribery. I even upped the ante and the two of us improvised dino-dramas in my living room converted to dinosaur habitats—one for his carnivores and one for my herbivores. As time went on, [...]
“Do mine first,” my 7-year-old grandson, Matthew, whined, “cause you did John’s thingy first.”
I was about to cut the tops off pumpkins so the boys could convert them to jack-o-lanterns to enjoy during the week before Halloween. John was our guest. I squinted at Matthew. “Excuse me?” [...]