The nights that I don’t drift to dreamland while putting Ram to sleep, I would go to tuck Hari who would be more or less at the end of his reading session for the day. As soon as he sights me, he would entice me into reading books by Mark Brown (Arthur series) or Richard Scarry to him.
I am not a big fan of the Aardvark and his bratty sister, but I don’t mind reading about the life in Busytown although we have read it a million times before. Truth be told, I like the Busytowners – the sensible Miss Honey, the ice cream lover Bruno, the unusual Wiggly Worm, the popular Mr. Fix It, the hard working HumperDink and his little mouse assistant Charlie Baker, and every other quirky character that inhabit BusyTown. I like the details in the illustrations. I like how the story and the illustrations are tied to each other. I like how Richard Scarry engages the little readers as the stories unfold. Mostly, I like it because it touches a very soft spot in my heart – it reminds me of Hari’s love for books in his pre-school days and the numerous bonding opportunities that the love paved.
Anyway, I digress. This post is not meant to profess my love for Richards Scarry’s works. It is about what his works mean to Hari. It is about why a kid who likes to show off his reading skills by grabbing books for mature readers such as the Power of Now would insist that his mommy read kiddie books to him at bed time? Last night I posed that question to him and his response was – “These stories calm me down amma. They make me have good dreams. The other day I was scared after reading about the dead cooks who came alive in Captain Underpants. I read Arthur and Richard’s Scarry so that I will not have nightmares” Although he likes to claim that his little Batty Wings (a Bat stuffed toy that he won at an event in Disney) is his comfort item, turns out that it is the books that he devoured as a preschooler that he falls back on for comfort.
I am glad I asked. I am even more glad that he was aware about what drove him to these books and he was able to articulate it to me. Now that I know what it means to him, I will hold back on my tendency to rush through the bed time ritual. The intensity of the days tends to sap my energy by that time of the day, and Hari’s bed routine is what takes a hit. Going forward, I will make the extra effort to not shortchange the most scared part of his routine. Rather our routine.