Nishad inherited quite the book collection from me, who use to collect them as teaching tools when I taught dance and in the classroom before he was born. “Our” collection continues to rapidly grow.
As a matter of fact, he has 4 shelves of books lined with some of the best books written. He doesn’t need to take a trip to the library, as he has his own. You won’t find commercialized theme or cartoon character books in our collection either. What you will find are multi-cultural, artistic, creative, rhythmic, global, peaceful, moral stories and folk tales which are thought provoking books that naturally lead children to a higher level of questioning and thought. Each book is special, respected and already showing signs of being well read and loved.
Nishad already knows several books by heart and can “read” stories to us. Nishad has been read to by his father and I since he was in the womb. We have pictures of him holding board books smiling and laughing at them when he was only 4-months old. He use to tumble over in laughter when I read, “I Kissed the Baby.” He enjoyed the old standby Seuss classics as well, like “Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You” as well as Carle’s “The Very Quiet Cricket.”
By eminent domain, Arun has since taken over Nishad’s board books. Though Nishad occasionally will bring one or two out to read it to us. Nishad has since moved on to books that leave this Mommy speechless as they aren’t “age appropriate” by any recommended means. Yet, they do captivate and hold his attention. Though he does enjoy picture books, he now also enjoys books with very few, or without any pictures at all. Books like The Chronicles of Narnia– I even read him some Robert Frost today.
He simply loves books and is one of those rare kids that when he gets a book for a gift, he truly gets excited and appreciates it. Books are his ‘entertainment’ as he has never been subjected to cartoons and ‘educational’ DVD’s/TV. He can be seen during the day reading books, magazines and when I bring in the paper he is quick to ask me to divide it so he can read too. He not only shares a love for reading with his parents, but he has two Aunties (Diana and Kelly) who also are book enthusiasts and are so generous when it comes to keeping his library well-stocked. They have given him some of the most meaningful, educational and fun books.
Though I am an avid reader today, that wasn’t always the case. As a child, I struggled with reading…and math (for that matter). I recall reading being a chore. I could re-read the same sentence five times and still not comprehend what it said. I was taught early on, by someone to read incorrectly. I was reading “word-by-word” instead of in a sentence format. No wonder I had weak comprehension and was labeled early on. It took until my Senior year of high school when a teacher asked me to read out loud for her. She instantly opened a portal to a new world for me- a love of books. Oddly enough, I think that my word-by-word reading is why I did so well at auditions for theatre. It slowed me down enough that directors could understand and hear me clearly.
Every thing that we experience in life teaches us something ~ if we are open to the possibility of the lesson ~ that will help us evolve into who we will become. Believe me, I had my share of frustration and tears… being labeled early on does weigh at your self esteem as a kid. However, I had dance, singing and theatre. Thank goodness.
It’s taken me many years to come full circle an embrace all that I went through in school as a kid. When I was in a teacher candidate, I had to confront my demons because I didn’t want to teach how I was taught. I then realized that it wasn’t me that had issues growing up- it was a few ‘bad apples’ that I encountered early on.
It also wasn’t until High School that I encountered a young and incredible English teacher who expressed to me my gift for writing. Something that no one ever said. While in college, my mentor, Dr. Luanna Butts, gave my spirit an edge that allowed me to pray and ask God to open my mind so that I could learn what I needed to learn as I wanted to be a teacher in his service. She was a tremendous ego-boost. So were others in the teaching department- especially, after they witnessed my field experience.
Another compliment, which I still have on one of my papers, came from an unlikely source; a math teacher. She went on to say what a gift I have for words and that I should really consider teaching English. Ironically, what she didn’t understand was that I was taking a subject matter that least liked me (ha!), and put a creative twist on the papers that were mandatory. It helped ease my numerological agony. Combined with Ashish’s tutoring (Oh, he was the best tutor!) and my creative play on numbers, I passed the class with a high enough percentage to stay in the education program.
Every thing I have experienced in life, the good and the not-so-good, have all prepared me for this moment, this time…to be the best Mommy I know how to be. I knew before our children where born that they would be exposed to reading at an early age, and I would never allow anyone to attempt to label my child. I know each child is a unique, talented and a gifted individual. It’s up to us to find out what that their gift is.
Though I’m no longer in the classroom, I’m still a teacher. In some respects, I always have been. People are often surprised when they learn of my early strides in the land of academia. I recall someone even saying to me, “But you’re so smart” as they stopped instantly as if to realize how one could interpret the comment they made. Even kids that don’t learn well in a rote environment are smart. Surely plenty of books have been composed on just such a topic, however, I don’t need to read a book to find that out.
For the last 2-weeks Arun has been saying, “Mamma” though on occasion he thinks he is British and calls out, “Mum-mum.” Well, I am the Queen Mother now, aren’t I?