I’ll Never Use a Kindle

…she said snottily. “Using a kindle, or a nook, or an ibook, is to lose the essence of reading. The sensory experience of the paper in your hands, the smell of ink from the pages.”

She repeated this derisive proclamation to many people, feeling oh-so-superior about how she would never succumb to the lure. She prided herself on her intact e-reader virginity. Who cares about being able to get the second book in a series after the library or book store closes?

She didn’t– not for a long time. Until she ran out of titles in her preferred fiction genre, and had to seek out authors not found in either library, or used book stores.

The first romance found in the weight of a paper-bound book became the long-married drudgery of no words to read. Without words to read she found herself two hours into an Operation Repo marathon.

Unacceptable.

It was 8pm on the evening of July 3rd when she abandoned purity for good. As with all vices and addictions, it began innocently– “just a little taste”, she promised. All the library books had been read (an understandable consequence from staying up until 2am), with none to be acquired the following day. Yet another fault to lay at the feet of the federal government.

Looking for a saved PDF, the ibook program reminded her about a library of books available just right over here, my sweet.

One ibook became 4 ibooks. But the ibook program displeased her; the search feature, clunky and irritating. But the kindle app…

And that’s when the heavy stuff started. Amazon one-click.

How many millions of titles? Combined with the satisfaction of supporting new authors with debut works offered for free. Those authors full of hope and wishing for good star counts. One book leading to pages of recommendations from what has to be one of the largest relational databases in the history of data collecting.

Reading a new-to-her author’s entire series in 4 days? Mourning the end of the last book as if she and the heroine are real life friends?

“Really”, she says to her husband, “what is the quantitative measure of happiness?”

Certainly a $75 few trifling dollars isn’t in excess? She fed the children (sandwiches) and the laundry got done (sort of). She showered (most days) and exercised (once).

Then tonight, as she discovered that when, on Amazon, one sorts by individual genre that the available Top 100 Free books increases? Certainly the three hours she sat, glassy-eyed and silent, scrolling and clicking links– all FREE, mind you– does not suggest a clinical problem?

How could she possibly be expected to resist The Science of Fairy Tales An Inquiry into Fairy Mythology? Or Criminal Sociology? Or perhaps the most aptly named motivational book of all time: The Universe Doesn’t Give a Flying Fuck About You?

Built in book light? Auto rotating pages that hold themselves down? These are delightful things.

Bathtub reading is a missed delight. That she is reasonably certain that the light of an electronic device exacerbates her trend of unfortunate bed-timing choices?

No need to focus on the negative.

Sweet, sweet kindle. She eats her (electronic) words.

If you Give a Kid a Valium

Och–that title is bad, isn’t it? I’ve been stuck on the If you Give a Pig a Pancake books with E lately and just couldn’t help myself.

Z is now adenoid-less. And, considering he screamed during his last CBC/well-child check up– to the point that the 2 year old brother muttered for him to “stop being a crybaby”– I anticipated more anxiety from him. Ahh…like his Momma– the little things cause breakdowns, but he rocks the big stuff. I had to be peeled off the ceiling by some of my online cohorts over my incessant body systems/symptoms checking on WebMD.* But put me in a real situation where my small child is going to have surgery and I’m totally cool. Which is, I do believe, is both insane and admirable. That’s me–defined my by own dichotomous nature.

*I’m working on self cognitive behavioral therapy for my child-related hypochondria. I’ve decided that beyond that whole Dad-dies-of-cancer-thing, that it’s also a lot ADHD related. Really, what better procrastination excuse is there than to constantly search out obscure health information about ones children. It certainly ate up a large chunk of time that I will never get back.

But I digress—–>> We’ve spent a fair bit of time over the past weeks doling out various quotable quotes and platitudes about bravery. All of them more or less pointing out that being brave doesn’t mean you aren’t scared. It just means doing it anyway. Z took all of those little mini-lessons and ran with them, too. I found some really obnoxious comic-book type books at the library, which I’m certain I will regret later, and we read the most of the time he was conscious. The reading also prevented our waiting-room neighbor from providing the details about her upcoming endoscopy. Yeah, she really was gearing up for details, despite the fact that Z is, you know, FOUR.

We read and read and read. When I had to stop reading his cheeks would get all red and suddenly his eyeballs were 1000 times bigger. Apparently filling out those pre-registration forms is just busy work, and no one can begrudge me the need for some recovery time after writing the co-pay check.** The power of silly words though, made all the difference in the world. And when that was starting to wear off the anesthesiologist gave him a syringe of happy meds. Hence the post title.

Z stoned on valium was just hilarious. Is that wrong– to comment about the comedic quality of your kite-flying-kid? By the amount of disembodied snickers floating from other curtained off rooms, everyone in day surgery was amused by him on valium, too. Loud observations about my boobs: about how he can see them, about how squishy they are, about how they are like bread and his hands are like the cheese for a giant booby sandwich. Meh– what can you do other than laugh?

**The estimated cost to my insurance for this procedure was $13000 dollars. Blame some mid-Nineties SI article that reported how much Jordan made per second (at the time it was 34 cents) and a friend who was an accountant in her former life– but I had to figure out the per minute cost. Despite my incorrect reporting on facebook (damn you algebra!)– I figured 25 minutes (actual procedure) + 30 minutes (recovery room) making the whole thing cost about $216 a minute. I forgot to add in the 30 minutes of pre-surgery room time, making it a super-reasonable (ha) $152 per a minute. I cannot fathom how some folks see that figure and think, “that cost seems really inflated for such a routine, quick procedure. Maybe some reform is needed?” His co-pay was more than our mortgage– and we have good insurance. But health-care isn’t a problem in the US, right?

“Booh”

Reading  a “booh” (translation, book) both fascinates and delights Elliot.  An equal-opportunity lover of books, he even refrains from eating them.  Most of the time.

The love of reading is my family thing.  My Mom loves to read, as did my Grandfather.  I’ve been reading since I was three (apparently my mother’s answer to no-naps was for her to sleep while I read out loud).

I demonstrate my love of reading every day, thanks to my ever-growing obsession with faery/vampire/preternatural “literature”.   Before you judge my tendency toward literary smut, I’d like to point out that, in this instance, what I’m reading matters not since neither of them can–you know–read.

I used to spend all of my free time arguing politics via online debate forums, but it was killing my blood pressure, so I went back to books.  I showed my three year old that there is no greater power for the imagination than the written word.  Zach has sat quietly “reading” since he was six months old.  I have evidence–the pictures below are at 6 months and at 18 months, respectively.

He will now sit quietly reading “floppy books” (i.e., books with easily ripped pages therefore not-to-be-shared-with-younger-brother) spelling out the words he knows and trying to sound out the words he doesn’t.  I glow with pride.

For my youngest, however, reading presents more challenge than hobby.  Desperate to speak English—everyone keeps doing it around him, much to his disgust—he yells “BOOH” while head-butting whatever part of me he can reach.  If I should dare to try and delay reading said “BOOH” he redirects his energies into a glorious tantrum. Have you ever tried to continue to read while a small person screams and kicks the floor?  It’s most distracting.

I came up with a plan when Zach began to recite the words to Brown Bear with me one afternoon.

Me: “Hey, why don’t you read this book to Elliot”

Zach: “No”

Me: “Oh, c’mon.  You know all of the words.  You read to him, I’ll read to myself, and we’ll all be reading…together.”

Zach—walking away: “No, I doesn’t want to.”

Elliot: “BOOH”

Well, dammit.

Me: “Brown bear, brown bear…”