This week, Daniel has been putting a different spin on our storytime before he takes his nap. Normally, I read three picturebooks to him before putting him down for his nap, but twice this week, he brought the book, “Jamberry”, to me, but wanted to read it himself. A two-year-old reading a book aloud to me. This is something I gotta see. So I said, “Go ahead.”
(A quick synopsis for those who have no clue what Jamberry is–it’s a short rhyming tale of a little boy and a brown bear and their adventures picking berries. The pictures are gorgeous: every blueberry, every blackberry is done in detail, and the rhyming is short but addictive (“One berry, two berry, pick me a blueberry./Finger and pawberry, my berry, your berry.”) If you have young ‘uns, get it. It’s cute and fun.)
Daniel opened the book and spinned a long, rambling tale about a little boy and a brown bear and their adventures picking berries. Although he knows the text of the story by heart, he throws it out the window and instead goes by the pictures, using nouns quite liberally with a smattering of verbs, and a whole bunch of other words that, quite frankly, made more sense to him than to me. (Which makes me wonder offhand–is that how he hears me when I read stories to him?) Once he finished “reading” that page, he said, “Go, Mommy!” which was my signal to turn to the next page. The story definitely sounded more interesting in his words. He even managed to get in his flavor of the month–rockets–into the story and it made somewhat sense.
It’s obvious from this that his imagination is taking off. All the childhood books and advice state that this is usually the age when it happens, when toddlers start picturing the possibilities and making up their own stories and games and such. But please, just for a moment, can you indulge a writer mama here? Good.
Could this mean that there’s the possibility of another writer in the family?
I remember being a kid in second grade, growing bored with the word lists we had to learn and memorize. I would flip ahead in our spelling book, moving on to harder and harder lists, and the way I learned them was simple. I made a long, rambling story out of each of them. You gave me a list, I used them in a story, oftentimes making it up on the spot. If I didn’t know what a word meant, I looked it up in a dictionary or got my parents to tell me. To me, it was just a fun game to make a boring class palatable, but today, I recognize the important creative skills of freewriting. Just making it up as you go, not caring how nonsensical it sounded. If you think about it, every kid playing with dolls or trains have the skill of making it up as you go. Writers take that, train it up, and use that to make cool stories.
So am I seeing a seed in Daniel of that skill? Will it be possible to nurture it, hone it into something he can use?
Oh, I’m guessing I can. And as I hear him babble nonsense while recognizing every other word, I can’t help but feel a little smug. This is my son exhibiting the same traits I showed when I was a kid, my mind crows. I could nurture it, be his teacher, bring him up in the arts of writing. And maybe, he’ll become a good writer. No, a great writer. Maybe he’ll be so good, he’ll even reach my level…or perhaps even surpass it. What if, in fact, he becomes better than me? What if he becomes the 10-figure salaried writer, popular all over the world, instead of me. He would be my rival instead of my pupil. I don’t like that. That can’t happen. There can only be ONE great writer in this family, and I’m it! Forget that! I gotta squash that writer’s instinct in him, NOW! THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE!!!
Or…I can be just making a mountain out of a molehill. Geez, he’s only two. For all I know, the only reason why he wants to read a book himself is so he could stretch out the reading time longer than usual so he won’t get dumped into bed so soon.
So, I think I’ll just sit back and enjoy him reading to me. And if I take a quick snooze while he does so, I’m sure he won’t mind. It’s a win-win situation.