March 31, 2018 – the Navigator of the story

*Isobel is watching ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events,’ while I am attempting to finish my paper for Philosophy (Descartes and dreams, what fun!). Anyway, she stops the show on her iPad, looks over at me working on my computer, and says…*

“Mom. It’s nice they have a navigator telling the story, so you know what’s happening.”
“What?”
“A navigator. You know, he tells the story so you know what’s going on.”
“Oh, no. Not a navigator. A narrator. A navigator is a person who finds directions for a trip, usually using maps, and decides the way to go. A narrator is a person who tells a story, like they talk through a movie, so you can follow the plot.”
“But a navigator tells the story.”
“No, baby, the word you want to use is narrator. But in a way, I guess a narrator is like a navigator- they both help you find your way. In a story or a movie, the person talking over the acting is usually a narrator.”
“Okay. I almost got lost in this movie.”
“Very cool. Enjoy!”
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February 17, 2018, WTF, Fairy Tales?

*Isobel and I have been working our way through a vintage copy of ‘Grimm’s Fairy Tales’ at bedtime. I found it for fifteen cents at a thrift shop; it’s got a Kaye Nielsen illustration on the front cover, and a history of the Grimm brothers as the introduction. It’s easily the best fifteen cents I’ve ever spent.
A lot of the fairy tales in this book are pretty harsh- they’re the original stories, not cleaned up for kids, so there’s plenty of graphic eye-pecking, dancing ’til death, and corpses discussing secrets while dangling from the gallows. Many tales have odd terms that Isobel hasn’t heard before, which often lead to lots of questions. Last night was no different…*

“And then he lay down and she loused him.”
“Mom? What’s that word, ‘loused?'”
“Ah, it’s gross. You sure you want to know?”
“Mooooom….”
“Okay, okay. So, remember these stories are from hundreds of years ago. People didn’t have indoor plumbing for bathrooms; toilets, showers, sinks and such… and they didn’t bathe very often. So most of them had bugs in their hair- lice. ‘Lousing him’ means she picked bugs out of his hair.”
“OH MY GOD, MOMMY, THAT’S DISGUSTING! Bugs? IN THEIR HAIR?! GAH!”
“I told you it was gross. Wait ’til you hear where they went to the bathroom.”
“Nooooooo!!!!”
“Hahahaha, maybe next time. Should I get back to it?”
“Ew, yes.”

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Saturday, October 21, Big Ducks

*We go to a Japanese restaurant in New York City sometimes, now, more often since I’ve had my hips fixed and can get out and about. Tonight, we met some friends there for dinner. This place amazes Isobel- she not only loves the food, but the bathroom is covered in graffiti. We were there once and she wasn’t eating, so I told her she could write one thing on the bathroom wall if she ate her dinner- and now it’s a thing we do every time we go. Tonight, after dinner, she motions for me to take her to the bathroom, and asks if I have my Sharpie.*

“You got it, Mom?”
“Yes, I remembered…”
“Okay.”

*We go in the bathroom, and as Isobel is choosing a spot for her artwork, she starts to read the walls. I was afraid of this…*

“Mommy. It says, wait, it says, ‘I love big ducks.'”
“Um, yes.” **THAT IS NOT WHAT IT SAID.**
“But why would someone write that on a wall?”
“No idea, babe. Maybe they’re really into ducks, like you’re into flamingos.”

*She stands back and stares at the wall for a moment. I’ve got to distract her before she figures out it says DICKS and not DUCKS, and the next question comes at me.*

“Hey, Is, look at this weird sticker. What are you gonna write?”
“Oh, I got it all figured out! I’m gonna write WE WILL ROCK YOU.”
“That’s perfect. Let’s go.”

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February 1, 2017

*Is gets two or three pages of homework every day (except Fridays), and once a month the teachers send home a new Sight Words sheet. We put that sheet up on the fridge after we work on reading the words together. But after we do the words, Isobel and I take turns making up little stories that use all the words in order, the sillier the better. I like to start my stories with, ‘It was a dark and stormy night…’

Today, the first sight word was ‘she’. We didn’t get much further than that, because…*

“She was a dark and stormy night…”

“HAHAHAHAHAHA! Isobel, that’s hilarious.”

“I’m not done, Mommy.”

“Dude, sorry. Please continue.”

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August 29,2016

*Is and I are discussing watching the third Harry Potter movie when we haven’t finished reading the book yet.*

“Look, you gotta read the book first, before you see the movie.”
“Why?”
“Well, there’s so much more to the book, if you don’t read it first, you miss some stuff the movie might refer to… and the movies are never, ever as good as the books.”
“Oh. So, do the Hebrew people do it different?”

*At this I stop loading the dishwasher and look up. Holy shit, this kid is so quick, I thought. Back when she started to learn to read, she often wanted to turn the book over and start from the other way (maybe because she’s left handed?)… I had to explain many times the books always open the same way, and then I told her, ‘oh, I guess Hebrew books go this way, they open like this and read in this direction, but not English. It’s a different language. Like Chinese, you read that from top to bottom.’ But I think we only talked about that one time…*

“Oh, no, Jewish people, not Hebrew people, and Hebrew is the language. Those are the books you read the other way, is that what you mean?”
“Yeah! Do they watch the movie first?”
“No. They read the book first, too.”

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