My friend Shelly visited us for a few days last weekend. This was fun for me, because it’s always good to touch base with someone I’ve known since I was eight years old. But it was absolute heaven for my kids, because she brought her dog.
Flora is a black lab, sweet and happy and of course very well-behaved, as any service dog would be. She got to work in unusual circumstances at our house; not only did we go for a walk that took us by some goats (which was too unusual for her; she certainly didn’t try to chase one, but she did need a correction or three to stop staring), but we went to the river, to the orchard and to the park as well. Plus she had to work around Nathan and Ryan, who are not good at staying out of other people’s way.
We tried to give her a fair amount of dog time, too. Dave chased her around the back yard and threw sticks for her. We took her out of harness at the river so she could sniff around the mud. And Dave and I both enjoyed taking her out for a little exploration around the neighborhood, with a few short runs thrown in. The kids even showed her our fake dog. (Flora was highly unimpressed with it.)
And now Ryan wants to know when the dog will be coming back…
For a long time now Nathan has been reading. Not sentences, not books, but he’s learned a lot of words (many of them from Minecraft) and it’s been gratifying to see him able to type commands into the computer. He obviously has no trouble with reading, and we’d been content to let him pick it up at his own pace, with only the occasional spontaneous lesson when the opportunity presented itself.
And then, a few weeks ago, Dave took Nathan out for an errand, one that took considerably longer than I expected. When he came back, he told me that he’d decided to take Nathan to the library as well, for the express purpose of checking out books for Nathan to read, and that he now intended to sit down with Nathan each night and work on reading with him.
I was surprised; I’d had no warning of this. But that’s pretty much how Dave works. Warnings are not really his thing.
So every night, now, they sit together just before bed and read. It’s a special father-son bonding time, I guess, because Nathan doesn’t seem to be tiring of it. And it’s fantastic to listen to his little voice finding most of the words on each page. Ryan often sits with them, but if he’s too wiggly and gets banished, I’ll either put him to bed or read with him separately.
And Nathan is starting to get the idea that he can read. Just the other day as we were driving he looked over at the bus in the next lane, and informed me that it said “school bus” on the back. He’s been trying to decipher signs and packaging too.
I love it, because I know how much his world will explode when he can read whatever he wants.
On a recent visit to the library, Ryan caught sight of a globe. He spent a minute examining it and testing its spin. He then asked, very loudly, “Is this Google Earth?”