Bribes Are Best with Love

dell antonia bribing kids

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, [...]

Living in the Listening

iPod as recording device

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. [...]