After dinner. After an ice cream sandwich dessert. After just one more game on the computer or kindle. After bath, it’s bedtime for grandson. This is my favorite time of day with him. We read another chapter or two from one of the several books he has chosen.
Diary of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume. I was surprised at this choice but noticed it’s by Judy Blume. It was first published in ’72 so it has endured over recent decades. I noted that the author of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series loved this Judy Blume book and drew inspiration from it in creating his Wimpy Kid series. After reading one chapter, I asked him, “Shall we read another chapter?” With each reading, he always nodded yes. Good book.
Shiloh by Phyllis Naylor Reynolds. “That’s boring,” he said at first. Still I asked him, “Shall I read the next chapter?” already knowing his answer. “No,” he nodded. “Oh dear, I know it gets better.” Still I didn’t press at that particular moment. “It looked good when we bought it. I remember your mother read this one,” I offered hoping to change his mind. And then it happened about two thirds of the way through the book. “Grandma, can you read the next chapter?” So we read the next, and the next and finished the final chapters in one day.
After reading a chapter or two, he asks me to scratch his back. Sometimes he says “Write words, Grandma.” It’s a game we play. He rolls over and I write significant words on his back to remind him of the day: a character in a book we read together, the cat’s name, a card game, a Transformer character, the name of someone we met that day, words from a puzzle, crossword puzzle, etc. I trace the letters on the back of his t-shirt, he guesses the letters, spells them out, then smiles in recognition of what the word is.
“Grandma, can I have a glass of water?”
“Here you go. We’ll put it right here by your bed on the window sill.”
“But grandma. What if there’s a tremor in the night and it falls on me.” He continued to make his point, “dumpty…dum…dum…dum…TUMP over”, tracing the imaginary path of the glass of water walking towards a spill from the window sill.
“Oh no. I hadn’t thought of that. You have earthquakes in CA, don’t you? Don’t worry. Texas has not had an earthquake since we have lived here.”
“But Grandma…please put the glass on the dresser.”
“Done. No worries, OK?”
Then we say a little prayer, I bend over and kiss him good night and he goes out like a light.