Wednesday, 26 March 2008

In the Shadow of the Moon

We got invitations to an advance screening of this tonight, and dutifully trooped off to the luxury seating of the cinema. (Trust me, not so luxury at 28 weeks gestation.) I think it went on for a bit long for D'Arcy and he needed more explanation than I was able to give him in a crowded cinema, but I think he got something out of it. I think that part of his problem is that having grown up totally in the information age he's a bit blase about this whole "we went to the moon" caper. A few weeks back we took him somewhere where there was a sample of moon rock you could look at, and he was kind of non-plussed about how awed the beloved and I were about it. His take was pretty much "what's all the fuss? It's a piece of rock". Our take "yeah, but it came from THE MOON!!! Some guy wandered out on to the surface of the moon and picked it up, looked at it, decided it was worth keeping as a sample, put it in his bag of moon rocks, and brought it back to earth FROM THE FUCKING MOON" he still didn't get it. He still doesn't get it. Are we doing something wrong here, or is he just 7? On Friday his class is going to the art gallery to look at stuff including, as he pointed out to me today some aboriginal art that is thousands of years old. He seems to have a sense of awe about that (kind of) and he is fundamentally less interested in "art" than he is in "space". What is it about going to the moon that is so ho-hum? Actually part way through the film when Jim Lovell was talking about Apollo 13 (and I explained that things went wrong, there was an explosion and the astronauts didn't get to go to the moon, but had to fix the problem and come back instead) D'Arcy asked, pointing to Lovell on the screen "Did he die?" and I realised that the documentary style wasn't working for him so well, and said "No, that's the actual guy who did this. It happened to him, and he's still alive." Hmm... End confused-parent rant I think.

Saturday, 15 March 2008

The Blog Post that Evolved From a Comment

I started writing this as a reply to Julie's and Duckie's comments about the lamentability of trash writing for small boys...

I know, it's the literature snob in me.... something about "surely you don't have get right down to the level of the 7 year old to get them to be interested". But then I can't remember what I was reading at 7, probably patronising little books about Dick and Jane. And was (and still am) a girl. I don't remember "learning to read". I vaguely remember the Ladybird series of readers. The ones D gets from school are better from the patronising point of view, but no more interesting. Very basic reference/non-fiction type books, or things with ultra simple story lines. Therein lies the challenge, how to keep the reader's interest while aiming at the correct reading level. Things happen in the Captain Underpants books, and that is good. I'm not sure how great his comprehension is though. I quizzed him occasionally on the events of the book as he was going, and got an "I can't remember". But If I asked him "why do you think they did/said that?" I got a better result, so he's clearly getting something out of it.

There's a way in which it's peer pressure that's got him to read them too. Some of his peer group (I hesitate to refer to these ones as 'friends') have them read to them at home, and are right into the toilet humour mentality, so it's part of D'Arcy trying to fit in with the 'in' crowd. Similarly we got the Scholastic Book Club forms the other day. The house rule is that D can get something from the club, but it has to be primarily a book (the Beloved and I refer to it as 'plastic crap club') and what he wanted was a set of Yu-Gi-Oh books. He knew to play his cards right this time. Last book club he got nothing, as when we sat down to look at the catalogue we had a fight which ended with D'Arcy saying "why does it always have to be fucking books?!?!?" and me chucking the catalogue in the recycling. So this time, he said "I know I need to only look at the books" and argued well for these. He's become very interested in cartoon-based trading cards. We use Pokemon cards as an incentive scheme for solo sleeping, but even they aren't totally reliable so he ends up on the floor in our room fairly often, and his card collection isn't growing as he'd like it to.

Thursday, 13 March 2008


The Beloved brought back some of the dreaded Captain Underpants books from the US. Now, I don't usually approve of these, but by God, the boy can read them! And he does. This afternoon and evening he's read about 60 pages BY HIMSELF!!! (well, with supervision and help on a few tricky words) but he's powered through it. And as soon as he'd finished he got out the second book to look at....All of this from a child who's struggled to stay engaged with an 8 page reader. I know, it's peer pressure, and non-literary, but I am strangely excited by the development.

Sunday, 9 March 2008

General update

New bed, sore foot
Originally uploaded by Crit Chicken
So, Larry broke a nail some time last week, quite badly. Badly enough that the vet had to clip it right back until it bled, so he's now on antibiotics for 5 days, and has to stay off it for that time.

D'Arcy has a new teacher, a man, who I think will be good for him, but D'Arcy now isn't in the same class as his good friend from last year.

The beloved has changed jobs, for the better we hope.

D'Arcy is getting used to the baby idea, talks to it sometimes, and has felt it kicking, which is exciting.

I've been a bit out of sorts, heart palpitiations led to an ECG last week, and then followed by a migraine, which was no fun at all...