From a personal perspective, one of the best offshoots of having a blog like this one is that it serves as a scrapbook of sorts, or a journal, and looking back on old posts helps me remember not just the stories we’ve read together but what was happening in our lives when we read them; what N was learning at the time, and what I was learning as her mother.
She asks questions about her homework, and I answer with poems about verbs and parallel lines and fractions. She asks questions about people with mental problems and people who live on the street and people who commit crimes — Why would anyone kill a kid? She asks questions about the news — Will war come to Toronto? and Who’s worse, Stephen Harper or Rob Ford? — and about why I say “Tuck-toyaktuk” when I tuck her in at night. “Where is Tuktoyaktuk anyway, Mom?” Sometimes she offers her own answers to the weightiest questions of all: “It isn’t sad or scary when you die, Mom. People always want to die right when they’re going to.”
I’ve often thought that being a parent gives you a chance to go over what you yourself learned the first time, and really understand it in a deeper way. Plus you pick up more — things you missed altogether — not just about decimal points and adjectives and the Great Lakes and the greatest stories, but things only a child can show you, kabuzz they see the world differently, and you see it in the regliar way. Once N wrote me a note that said “To Momma, so she can know my knolege,” but all the while she has been teaching me too.
The world N has shown me is of superior koality, where the “fairys are verry buissy but they allways remember there tasks and allways get back to them.” The capital of this world is Yoo Nork City, and it is peopled (and aminaled) with people (and aminals) named Buzzzbee and Yoma and Mrs Thumble and Mrs Shabour, also known as Mrs Neighbour. There are pixies in this world, and they are tricksters, “so be careful if you see a tiny creacher that has no wings.” Everyone here is “odd in noticed ways,” as if “something’s buzzing inside us.” And no wonder: sometimes the fairies here do magic in front of your eyes. If you believe, you can see it; if you don’t believe, you can’t see (and you probably won’t buzz either).
In this world there are places to dine called Splashafishchip and Kleenexfishymombofood, and they serve all kinds of delicious dishes but no dry wine, only wet. You can get soothment from eating in such places, and later you can get more soothment when you lie down to sleep, because “in the light light room, there is music.” This must be the room where you can get to Narnia through the floor tile, or to Neverland through the window, even though it is painted shut. There are endless places to go from here.
The bookshelves sag with all they have to offer — worlds inside worlds, in which no one reigns supreme even though there is a little prince and a littlest princess and a girl who can lift a horse over her head. The dresser drawers spill over with clothes that are so quickly outgrown they sometimes barely get to be worn. But no matter. There are large gold dressup shoes and vampire capes and witch hats and strings of one-size-fits-all beads in every colour, and there are loose beads, too, that sometimes escape from their tins and roll around the floor until they slip through a crack to another world.
This room is full of paper butterflies and sequined fish and stuffed aminals with mournful eyes and Zhu Zhu pets that squeak “Let’s go!” when you step on them accidentally. And who would not want to go?
And yet in all my travels, this is among the loveliest places I have ever been.