11 March, 2008

All in a day's reading .......

Last week, as I was just about finishing off with my workouts, Abhay went fishing in the library bag (I mean the bag that I normally carry to the library and get the books in. The nutty siblings have named it the library bag and now it gets used only for that purpose – not for shopping of any kind). He took a while and came out and plonked next to me with a huge beam on his face. He has quite grown to love this “book reading” time.

“I got a Winnie the Pooh book”, he said.

“Okey Dokey. What’s the title of the book ?” I asked him.

The little brows furrowed in concentration, the little index finger slid across the large black words on the front of the book and he began to read “P.o.o.h’s H.a.l.l.o.w.e.e.n P.u.m.p.k.i.n”.

Onto the first page – he first gave the pictures on the page a good look, committing the details in the picture to memory and then moved on to the words. And began to read “One spring day …..” and abruptly the flow of words stopped. I looked up from the book to see a pair of black eyes with large question marks in them, staring into my face. “Somebody make a mistake” he said.

“Why ? What happened ?” I asked.

“See – the book’s name is Pooh’s Halloween Pumpkin and here it says Spring. But Halloween is not in spring Mummy – Halloween is in autumn. So somebody make mistake.”

It took me a while to get the point across that it was not a mistake, before which I did steal a quick glance at the last page of the book just to make sure that there was indeed a pumpkin there – else I was headed for serious trouble. Sure enough, there was a huge grinning Jack-O-Lantern on the last page. Phew !!

“As we read the story, we will know why they’ve mentioned spring on the first page Abhay” I said.

With a rather dubious look, he continued reading, stopping only when a word was too complicated for him to figure out. And since he’s onto reading the Level 2 books now, there are a few words that prove too tricky for him to figure out by himself.

Those brows which had been knitted together in a frown eventually eased out as he read out the first page aloud and realized that it was indeed spring time because the pumpkin seeds were just being planted.

We continued and while well into the 7th page where Rabbit had just handed a pumpkin seed to Pooh because Pooh wanted to grow a pumpkin too. One could hear the mental brakes slamming and screeching and the vocal vehicle grinding to a halt as the wheels in his head began to spin – rather furiously.

“Can we grow a pumpkin too ?” he asked.

“It takes a large patch of soil to grow a pumpkin Abhay” I explained.

“But we growed capsicum.” he said.

“Yes, but pumpkin grows on a vine” I said.

“What’s a vine ?” he asked

“It is a creeper.” I said and then proceeded to draw out a plant and a creeper for him on plain paper so that he could differentiate between the two.

Those brows were still furrowed and out of the blue he says

“But we can go down to the garden in Laguna City and plant some pumpkin seeds.”

“Only the gardener does gardening there Abhay. Not everybody goes and plants whatever they want to.” I said.

Those brows dug in further, the eyes scrunched up a little as he collected his thoughts and tried to come up with a plausible solution to his problem of where to grow a pumpkin.

Suddenly, the little eyes lit up and he said “I know Mummy. I know what to do”.

“Tell me” I said, indulging him because watching his logic evolve is quite a lovely process and pretty entertaining, at that.

“We can go down to the garden dressed like gardener uncle and then we can plant pumpkin seeds. Then nobody can know.”

I could not resist giving him a huge bear hug with an equally huge smile to match because he was so animated about the whole thing. And this was something that even I would not have imagined coming from him – “We can dress up as gardener uncle”.

Finally he bought the idea of trying to plant a pumpkin seed in a rather large pot of soil right at home itself. Yeah – why ever not ? If we could grow red peppers then there’s no real harm in giving pumpkins a go too. Hmmm … next project !!

We went on reading our little book and all was well until we reached page 18 of the book where Owl tells Pooh that what he is growing is a cucumber and not a pumpkin.

“But how can a cucumber come out from a pumpkin seed ?” queried Abhay.

“Maybe Owl just made a mistake. We’ll know as we read on” I said

“But Owls cannot make mistake” said Abhay “because mummy is a owl”.

"If the owl does not know then the owl must say to Pooh that I don't know. Owl must say that I'll find out the correct answer for you." said the Wise One.

That’s some Vote of Confidence and a huge standard to live up to !!

“Then mummy – you are not a owl anymore. No more, OK ?” said the little guy. Quite apparently, Owls had been downgraded, atleast for the time being.

We went on with reading our little book and on Page 23 we stopped again – this time because Eeyore was staring at a green little ball that had grown on the vine that had grown from the pumpkin seed that Pooh had planted.

“That looks like a tomato Mummy – not a pumpkin” said Abhay.

That did deserve an explanation and I launched off into one – about how the colour too changes as the vegetable grows and what have you. I told him that was the case even with tomatoes – they are green when they are little and change colour as they ripen.

Satisfied with the explanation, we carried on with reading the book and from then on there were no more stops.

After having read the book fully, he went over the gist of the whole story again with a few prompts and nudges from me – basically to see if he had got the story thread.

He had.

Aside of that, he also went on to give me a full length explanation about how a plant starts from a seed.
“First you plant the seed.
Then must water the plant everyday.
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday – all the days. But only little water – not too much. If you put too much water then the plant will not come out.
Then a plant come out of the seed.
Then the plant also want sunlight and also water so that they can grow.
Then flower comed on the plant.
Then from flower, vegetable growed.
First the vegetable be small and then the vegetable will grow big.
Taaa Daaaaaaaa”

Not bad at all. It had been a good one hour plus of one-on-one time and out of a very simple, mild book – much knowledge had been gleaned.

I simply cannot think of a better way to end this post than by quoting Esther Meynell who once said

"Books, to the reading child, are so much more than just books. They are dreams and knowledge, they are a future."

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11 voice(s) said so:

WhatsInAName said...

wow :)
You make even the simple task like reading a book to your young ones, so fascinating!

mummyjaan said...

Very enjoyable post.

I am embarking on this exciting journey with my little girl, who has recently turned 4. We're just beginning, but I can imagine we'll have many happy hours ahead of us, lost in the magic of books.

Swati said...

What a bright littel chap !! Amazing..

Kodi's Mom said...

beautiful and hilarious! in Abhay's hands, books take on a dimension that even the author didn't imagine :) hope to see pics of your pumpkin "patch" soon...

Trishna said...

ohh wow! this is such a beautiful post..I felt like u were reading aloud to me too!That and a complete dose of abhayism.. great combo!

2 B's mommy said...

Abhay is a smart boy. Well done !

dipali said...

Lovely! I like the way Abhay thinks:)

karmickids said...

Gauri: I am so so so very much in awe of you. And more so of Abhay, he's amazingly intelligent, and he owes it all to you and your diligence in ensuring that he gets a firm grounding in a love for books. I'm not even half way there. If I can get the brat to sit through two pages its an achievement for me.

Usha said...

beautiful. I was just going to comment that I miss abhayisms - now we have a diff version of abahyisms right? dress like gardener uncle and go plant pumpkins.
That child of yours is a very bright one - completely adorable.

Aryan said...

Really enjoyed thepost dear..I love it the way your explained the stuff....

Aryan said...

Really enjoyed thepost dear..I love it the way your explained the stuff....