The Not Very Great Outdoors

October 13, 2010

If it weren't for his giant head and stellar personality, I'd question whether or not James was switched at birth. The kid does all kinds of things I'd never expect someone with my DNA to do--and I know he's not getting it from his father either.

For example, James reads almost fluently--he still gets hung up on the words with 'ght' all in a row. And I'm sure I don't have to convince you that there's never been a hint of a flashcard in this house. PBS Kids? Yes. Hooked on Phonics? Yeah, Hooked on Phonics can kiss my lazy istillhavetosoundthingsoutsometimes ass.

But it's not just the reading that's got me all freaked out, it's what my child likes to read--namely, the Children's Encyclopedia. I crap you not, this kid just read me two excerpts, one was about a painting called The Great Greyness and the other one was some complete boringness about an Asian (pronounced 'agent') teacup. I tried so hard to act captivated by the teacup, I really did, but there's no mincing words here, Asian teacups suck.

I wouldn't say that we're a non-reading family, but we're not a bunch of bookworms either. Jared's been reading the same book since last Thanksgiving, and as an adult, my reading is strictly limited to food blogs, status updates, and library books with hot pink covers (oh my word, I always skip the sex scenes...and sometimes I lie).

In high school I literally, literally, read one required reading book out of approximately five hundred. It was Night by Eli Wiesel and I only read it because it was skinny. That was back in the day before internet book summaries, so I passed my classes on nothing but natural intellect, a pleasant witt, and a casual deal with the valedictorian. I can't say I ever cheated in college (honestly, never not once), but I will say that by the time my third year rolled around I was spending my text book money--all if it--at The Gap.

Me and books? Not so much.

Me and The Hills? Yes, yes, yes.

I guess you can say I'm not sure what to do with this kid. I tell him to go play outside and he acts likes it's an enormous and painful punishment. I tell him to go sit in his room and read a book and he starts jumping up and down and swinging his socks around like he's about to rope a cow.

Yesterday we finally compromised, and James agreed to work on his puzzle books outside. Let me tell you, both times he got up to take a whiz on the tree in the sideyard I was like, "Thank goodness. I wonder if that counts as exercise."

So here's my question for today. Does anyone else have a kid who hears the phrase, "It's time to go outside and cut your own leg off," when you're actually saying, "It's time to go outside and play"?

The average age on our street is seventy, his sibling can't even walk yet, and a trampoline is way out of the budget this year. What do I do?


Kristi said...

Perhaps James and my daughter are long lost brother and sister, from different mothers and fathers of course.

Hannah started talking in sentences before she was one. She taught herself to read at three. She's ten now and the way we punish her is by grounding her from reading. FROM READING. Not the iPod, not the TV, not the computer. FROM. A. BOOK.

It's sad really.

Hannah read all the kid encyclopedias; we bought her all the ASK magazines and Zoobooks. I bought the kid books from the traveling religious salesman. She devoured them all.

The scariest part is she remembers everything she reads. Everything.

She refuses to go outside unless it's to read. If we go to the park to play, she brings a book "for the trip." It's a two block walk! I set her a tent up in the backyard this weekend so she could play outside. She brought books and pillows and sat her happy katookis in the tent and read for FOUR HOURS.

Wonder if she'll ever get the energy to start dating? This could be good.

Anonymous said...

Throw those crap books away and fill up his closet with wii games.

Bahston Beans said...

Pat likes to read and he turned out okay.

Michemily said...

I like it. That kid sounds awesome.

Pony said...

Hmmm, I think I was kinda that kid. Maybe not that extreme, but a lot like that. I think I turned out okay, but that's debatable. I like the outdoors now, course I still like to take my book with me :D

Zach and Hannah Parris said...

Ok, so as a librarian I have to say Yay!! It's awesome when kids love to read. However, kids also need to play and exercise. Maybe find some books that go along with outdoor activities that would encourage him to want to try the outside stuff himself?

Hurricanehol said...

My kids followed in my foot steps with loving to read as well. In order to make sure they were getting the proper exercise, I make sure they are in a team sport or karate ( practices and games are a pain but at least I get the title "soccer mom"!) :-)
If he loves to read that much, take advantage of the school if they send home scholastic book orders. You can also "pretend" that you have a school of your own to sign up yourself. Cheap cheap cheap quality books!!! My daughter used to fall asleep reading her childrens encyclopedia :-)

Michemily said...

I thought you would like this little story:

Mel said...

OH I was that kid. I was and always have been a bookworm.

In high school I read books that weren't required and re-read things that were LOL.

I did also do theater, and sports too. So there is hope!

For my birthday this year I FINALLY got a Nook since the 500 books in my house were getting a little ridiculous. Yes we really do own that many it is not an exaggeration.

Sarah said...

Yes, yes, YES, that is my (now 13 year old) child!! He is a reader and, left to his own devices, a sitter in any manner -- TV, internet, it matters not. Very docile. Literally, as a toddler, when my friends were griping about pulling their kids off of the roof, etc., he would gather up his blankie, etc., and proclaim, "Let's play SLEEP!!" (Believe me, he had attitude issues that made this a fair trade, though he is truly a joy now). And, like Hannah, no matter WHERE we go, he takes a book to read "for the trip". Bless.

Anyway, yes, I did what you do -- had him take a book outside. His sister was ALWAYS outside, with a ball or skateboard, etc. I kept looking for activities that he enjoyed. Once he was in elementary school I kept him in a team sport of his choice. Now he has found out that besides being a gifted reader, he is also a gifted runner, so we play into those gifts as well.

Allow and encourage the reading -- buy him LOTS of books. But keep prodding him outside and to be active. He'll catch on a little bit at some point.

Jes said...

That is one awesome hat! I have an urban dictionary rip-off calendar, and I must say that I have learned a lot that I never wanted to know.

Good luck on your marathon!