Jason took 320 kilos of scrap metal out of our garden to the scrapyard over the weekend.
While he did that, I nursed my fragile back and stayed indoors. It’s much better today, which is good, as I have a session of Pilates this afternoon with my beautiful Sicilian nemesis, Rosella, who will put me through my paces and make me bend in places I never knew I was capable of bending from.
Oscar and I spent a great deal of our weekend reading…and reading…and reading.
For a boy who was never going to learn to read because his sisters would do it all for him, he is becoming remarkably adept at it. And for a boy who would rather spend his entire life on the Xbox, he is very easily swayed by the promise of a story, or the chance to read one to you.
Which is cheering.
Apart from complex words he’s never come across before, he’s fluent.
When I say fluent, it’s not the fluency of the child who can read all the words in the right order, but reads them in a monotone that makes the speaking clock sound fascinating. No, he reads with expression, and, if allowed, different voices for all the characters. He uses punctuation to help him breathe and pause and exclaim. He understands how to use bold and italics in a text when he’s reading aloud. He’s a joy to listen to.
Now we’re working on his comprehension – not that that’s too shoddy either, mind you. The problem is more that he’s seven, and there are a lot of things in life you’ve simply not had the time to experience when you get to seven, things which need explanations from a world weary parent. Especially when your reading material is rather eclectic and ranges far and wide across an entire galaxy of books.
He is reading his way through his Beatrix Potter collection at the moment, in between other things where he gets side tracked rather. He loved the books when he was younger, and I used to read them to him over and over again, particularly; The Tale of Two Bad Mice and Samuel Whiskers (or the Roly Poly Pudding). Now it is my turn, and he reads them to me.
He is amassing an intricate and somewhat eccentric knowledge of late Victorian life as we work our way through the books; explanations of what galoshes are, for example – or the fact that a nursery is not in fact an OFSTED rated sweatbox full of young women in brightly coloured aertex t-shirts helping small children not to eat sand and hit each other with spoons.
I love the fact that when he has gleaned a new word or idea, he carefully stores it away and then finds an opportunity to use it. And if he loves a word he just likes to repeat it, rolling it round in his mouth like a marble or a particularly luscious looking pebble.
While he is reading to me, I am reading to him – every day.
We are still reading the Percy Jackson books by Rick Riordan. We are on the second series now, but we are hampered by the fact that we are reading it with Tallulah, and Tallulah’s social life is such that we often go for days without being able to pick it up, because we cannot read ahead without her.
We’ve been looking around for something that will please us both, which is not as easy as it sounds.
We were rescued this week by my fabulous friend Paula, who sent us the first book in the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series by Michelle Paver to read. It’s called Wolf Brother, and we love it. I started reading it to myself on Saturday morning, and Oscar sidled up to see what was going on. He ensconced himself on the sofa, and that was that, we were in.
By the time we had to re-engage with real life again last night, I had read him 180 pages of the book, and we only stopped because it was tea time.
Tallulah has singing lessons and a hot date confessing all to tiny baby Cheezus this evening, so we should be able to finish Wolf Brother before bed time.
My mission today is to track down the second book. We are officially hooked.