Monday, June 17, 2013

Take a look, it's in a book

Right now, we're in the middle of By the Shores of Silver Lake. 

A Few of the Conversations Occasioned By* Reading the Little House Books, In Order, With My Five-Year-Old Daughter in the Year 2013

--The one about Jack dying: 
Me: Pets ...[choking sobs, tear-swabbing] ... don't live as long as people so ... [honking nose-blow] ... they -- they die [more sobbing] ... and Jack was a good dog ... and ... oh honey, I'm sorry, this is ridiculous [laughing through FLOODS of tears], I'm crying about s-s-omebody else's dead dog from a hundred and fifty years ago! [weeping, nose-blowing, furious tear-mopping]
Kid Gleemonex [wrinkling brow, reasonably, dry-eyed, though possibly worried about my sanity]: But Mommy, Jack was old. He died and went to Kevin, just like your Daddy did.

--The many about how much more was expected of children back then vs. now: 
Major topics of emphasis have included: Mary and Laura taking the family's cow (a huge animal that could trample them to death if it took a notion) to meet the herd each morning; the fact that children did chores, and it was a hell of a lot more than taking their own plates to the kitchen after meals; sitting still and quiet in church; why don't we go to church Mommy; they woke up everybody, all the kids, to work in the nighttime? Won't Almanzo be grumpy and get a lot of time-outs the next day because he's tired?

--The one about Mary going blind: 
KG, extremely alarmed: BLIND? You mean she can't see anything?
Me: No, sweetheart -- she got sick and it made her blind, and that means she can never see anything anym --
KG, outraged: She has to get un-blind! She has to get better. How can she see anything if she's BLIND?
Me: [Fifteen minutes on how blind people adapt to living in the sighted world, with digressions on the topics of seeing-eye dogs, causes of blindness, and the ways in which disabled people were viewed in "prairie times" vs. how they are viewed today]
KG: So can she see again in the next book?

--The one about Santa Claus being unable to cross the Verdigris River: 
KG: But Santa Claus's reindeer can fly! Why wouldn't he be able to get across a river?
Me: ... uh ... they, ahh ... didn't have any snow and ...
KG: Mommy, we don't have any snow. Santa Claus came to us!
Me: ... um ...
KG: Maybe Mary and Laura and baby Carrie weren't good girls. Is that why -- THAT'S why Santa wouldn't come.
Me: Yep! Mighta been. Anyway let's keep reading, OK?

--The one about what a flaming racist Ma is: 
KG: Why doesn't Ma like Indians? My teacher, Ms. Varsha, is an Indian -- she's from India. It takes twenty hours to get there on an airplane.
Me: [Solid half-hour on "not that kind of Indian, the kind of Indian so called because Christopher Columbus was a dummy," and on the racist colonialist mindset of the times which held that non-white people of all kinds but particularly the ones who happened to occupy the land "we," aka settlers/colonists, wanted to live on were "savages," and how fear of them was not necessarily misplaced -- they DID kill settlers -- but was not exactly justified either because damn it we were fucking stealing their land and killing THEM off, so what would you have them do]
KG: Ma was not being nice to Indians. But I bet if she met Ms. Varsha she would be nice to her. Or maybe not nice, because Ma is not very nice. To Indians I mean.

*"Occasioned by" -- is that a thing? It sounded normal when it popped into my head when I wrote it, but the more I look at it, the more it looks like bizspeak verbing or something that does not mean what I think it means ... but hell, I'm leaving it. You know what I fucking mean. 

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Blogger Amblus said...

I love everything about this.

1:26 PM  
Blogger francine said...

i cannot wait to get to this point in my life with my kids.

8:27 PM  
Anonymous 12 said...

This is hilarious and wonderful and I am taking notes on how to handle these situations. I am so happy you are writing more often!

7:48 AM  
Blogger Gleemonex said...

Awww, I love you guys! This has been so much fun for us, reading a chapter or two at a time, and she's finally old enough to follow the story -- but it's hilarious because I find myself going down certain rabbit holes, explaining stuff and/or clarifying our family values about certain topics ... heh.

11:34 AM  

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