October 25, 2007

Jackson, Alexander & A Pig

When Jackson (now 13) was little, one of his favourite books was Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. It was one of mine, too. Sometimes your kid picks a truly awful book as their favourite, and you are stuck reading drivel night after night. (My sister Roz (I call her Liz in the paper, in keeping with the original fake names everyone got) used to make my father read Cinderella to her every.damned.night. She would say the words with him, and if he skipped a page, or even a word, she'd make him go back. The image of my tough guy Dad reading Cinderella over and over is one I cherish.) Jackson had exquisite taste in read-alouds, and we alternated between Alexander and If You Give a Pig a Pancake.

Judith Viorst wrote Alexander... in 1972 about her own son. She went on to write often about him. There's an article, ostensibly about her home, in the NYT today, but it reveals more about her and Alexander than her house. In reading it, I discovered that she never told her family when she was writing about them.

What a concept.

See, I tell mine. And then I endure their wrath. Or eyerolls. Or worse, depending on the subject matter. Apparently, Ms. Viorst has now written about Alexander again, except he's married with three kids, a fact his mother didn't let stand in the way of continuing on her practice of doing whatever she wants. She once wrote that her kids got lice, and they almost disowned her. They got over it (the lice and the humiliation), and it reminded me to save this article to show my kids how generous I am in my own spoutings.

While it's nice to see this little snapshot into the back story of a favourite book, it provided more than that; it was a reminder that while you can freeze frame your children with a picture or a story (or a column), they never stop changing and growing. Motherlode's only been around 4 years, and already I am amazed at the difference in my boys. I have a nice history of some events and moments, but I'm already feeling the wistful tuggings in real life that I get when I find When You Give a Pig a Pancake in the 'give away' pile of books.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, thanks for outing me (to say nothing of my literary leanings).


October 26, 2007 4:59 PM  

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