Sydda, as impossible to get a hold of as ever, has been neglecting both my desperate I-miss-you emails and you, darling readers.
But today, I have things to say!
I have spent the majority of June reading, going out to lunch, making cool crafts, seeing movies, playing mini-golf, visiting the library, enjoying the park, trying out art and dance classes, napping, and eating homemade lasagna. The slight catch: each and every one of these activities was done with a child under the age of 13 (the majority under the age of 5).
As many of the 3 of you who read this blog may know, I am currently pursuing my career in
acting professional babysitting. I love babysitting, I really do, and it is a wonderful, pretty easy job that pays my bills and gives me a lot of flexibility to go to all the auditions I want other houses to babysit more. One of my favorite parts of babysitting, which I enjoy during babies’ naptimes and 8 year old’s homework hour, is the opportunity to catch up on my reading (I am currently just slightly behind schedule with 48 books read since January). One of my other favorite parts of babysitting is getting to read to and with the kids. I love reading the books from my childhood, Clifford and Where the Wild Things Are and Goodnight, Moon. I also love seeing all the awesome new children’s literature out there, and there is a LOT of wonderful stuff (Mo Willems, I’m talking about you). I hope so much that these kids will want to read as much as I did as a kid–I remember getting 7 or 8 books out of the library one day and going back in two weeks to get 7 or 8 more.
An 8 year old boy I watch has a required 20 minutes of reading every day, and usually it takes every bribe I can offer to actually get them done. Every five minutes, “how many more minutes?” and “Am I done yet?!” Today it was “after dinner!” as he picked up a Garfield comic to “read” while he munched his tortellini (I mean no disrespect to Garfield–I was a huge fan as a kid, too, but I wouldn’t quite call that literature). When we finally settled down to reading time, he surprised me with his immediate quiet and stillness. I nestled in with my book (Mrs. Dalloway), took note of the start of the 20 minutes, and snuggled into the couch. 25 minutes later, and not a peep out of him, I was shocked. Then, “I only have 43 more pages to go!” I asked, “Should we work on your math for a few minutes?” and he quickly responded, “No! I want to keep reading!”
Tonight, he read for over an hour and finished the last 69 pages (he specifically counted his hour’s achievement) of his book, as I finished the last 70 pages of my own. Granted, he became an obnoxious, overpriveleged kid again as soon as the cover closed, but for that sweet, wonderful hour, we sat in a living room on 5th avenue and went to other worlds.
You try to tell me time travel doesn’t exist, and I’ll set you straight. Time travel doesn’t involve fancy machines or scientific equipment. New Yorkers, young and old, are time traveling all the time, in the parks and subways and their cubicles and houses and restaurants.
And if you meet an asshole, or a child who’s giving you sass, try to picture them curled up, turning pages, time traveling. Books give me hope that maybe people can be better, or if they can’t, that they’ll at least take an hour of the day to shut up and read anyway.