Monday, September 14, 2009

Enthusiastic Listener

A post about the Luau will be on its way, but I've felt inspiration this morning.

I know I won't be winning any awards such as "Best Mom of the Year." I'm okay with that, really. Besides, the attention one would get from such an award would probably cause me to become a hermit. In my older years, I'm starting to seriously get why J.D. Salinger has been hiding for nigh unto 50 years (perhaps he's dead).

"Won't you come to speak to our women's group?" The phone calls wouldn't stop if you were to be mother of the year. Then there's the speaking engagements, the book deals, the paparazzi trying to take a picture of you at your least "mom-of-the-year" moment (think: Kate Gosselin). You know, when your 2-year-old runs out the front door sans clothes and diaper. Not that I'd know anything about that...

When I was younger, when asked the question: "Which would you choose: fame or fortune?" I'd always choose fame. I think it's a commonality amongst those of us stuck in the middle of a large family. We seek outward attention wherever we can get it.

But on Saturday after the luau, I decided fame is not for me. The luau was fantastic and it was great seeing everyone. The only problem was, it wasn't long enough, and I was on working duty, so I didn't get to say "hi" and chat with more people that I wanted. Some of the people who show up to the luau I only see once a year. I like to see how people's children are progressing and growing. I like to hear people's "stories." But fame (not that the luau makes me famous, there's just a lot of people there) doesn't allow one the time (nor the energy) to really connect with people in the ways one likes to be connected. I understand Dave Chappelle stepping away from the spotlight. Maybe there is such as thing as too many friends? (NO! NEVER! LET THE FRIEND REVOLUTION BEGIN!)

But what I'm getting at in a very odd and roundabout way is that I felt inspired today to help me become a better mother.

Lilia has been struggling with reading. It hasn't come naturally for her at all. I think a big part of it is because of her speech delay and hearing problems when she was a baby. The ripple affect has moved out to her reading comprehension. I can see on her face when she sounds out certain words, in her head all these years she's been hearing the word wrong. For example, the word "asked." She thinks it should be spelled A-K-S-D, so when she tries reading the real word, she gets confused and then frustrated. And my coaxing with little ryhmes she's heard a million times, such as "when two vowels go walking, the first one does the talking" does not help.

So I've been thinking what I could do to help her better. Usually when we read together, it's late at night, and I'm tired. I'm listening to her read with my eyes half closed. What kind of a message am I sending her? "You bore me to sleep, little girl."

So the next time we read together, it will be (a) earlier and (b) I'll act like I'm interested in what she's reading.

"Oooh, this story is good. Keep reading! What's going to happen next?"

Wouldn't that make you want to read more rather than seeing your mom nod off to sleep? Like I said, maybe not Mom-of-the-Year, but More Improved isn't a bad award either. Please, no phone calls.


Leo and Jill said...

Just being concerned means that you should get the mom of the year award.

Emily said...

Reading is hard, Cindy. Keep at it--you're helping her more than you know. Really!