Thursday, 18 December 2014

Fez Boy is a Reader!!

Lots of people like books. They enjoy reading and all as a very restful, occasional pastime. Not quite so many people are actually Readers with a capital R.

Readers get caught up in the story. We can't risk reading 'just a few pages' before bed, because we'll still be there at 2 am, glued to the book. We live in houses full of books and throw out useless things like spare towels just because we need more space for our books. (Everyone has books in their linen closet right?) 

We struggle to part with books. People will say "You need more space, why don't you get rid of some books?" and we Readers will look upon them with horror, because they might as well have told us to eat our own offspring to make more space in the house (it is possible this would work, but I'm not particularly recommending offspring eating, it would probably be simpler to buy a bigger house).

We cry when our favourite characters lose, we cheer when they win and we're broken hearted when they die. When we're caught in the throes of story, you can tell us the house is on fire and we'll just say "Mmhmm" and not hear a word. We can't help it, it's just the way it is.

I am a Reader. Captain Barnacle is a Reader. Exhibit B is a Reader. Cookie Monster is a Reader. And until recently, Fez Boy was a person who liked books.

This is ok. We're not about to tell any of our children how to define their own hobbies and he did enjoy the odd story here and there although he's been far more likely to read two pages and then announce "I'm bored now, what else can I do?"

Yesterday however, there was an epiphanic moment for young Master Fez.

I have recently acquired a copy of the graphic novel adaptation of The Graveyard Book. A librarian friend I know had tipped me off about a Neil Gaiman sale and like the junkie I am, I couldn't resist. It's ok, she couldn't either :P

Exhibit B and Cookie Monster, having both read the novel were thrilled to see the graphic version and devoured it enthusiastically. Fez Boy, seeing them, was intrigued. "The cover - oh gosh, it looks pretty interesting mum, is it scary? Will I like it?"

"Try it and see," said I.

Being school holidays, I put him to bed, still reading, at 9pm. At 11pm Exhibit B wandered past and said "Do you realise he's got his bedroom light on again?"

There was Fez Boy, newly transformed into a Reader, and so firmly glued to The Graveyard Book that I don't think he COULD have put it down even if he'd tried. I took it away from him, and feeling like the worst monster in the world, I ignored his begging cries of "Just one more page!!! Please!!!"

I know where that leads, there's no such thing as "just one more" when it comes to books.

He finished it this morning and now, as I write, all I can see is the top of his scruffy head from behind the pages of Coraline.

I can't tell you how pleased I am that he's had this experience. One can teach a person to read, but you can't "make" someone a Reader. It either happens or it doesn't. Fez Boy just got lucky. He found a story that set his heart on fire. A story that held him tight and thrilled him to his socks, words that dragged his eyes along the page with their demand to be read.

Now he's like the rest of us, just another book junkie in search of his next fix.

I think we're gonna need a bigger house.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

My John Hurt Moment And My Wonderful Son

Fez Boy turns 9 soon. As our youngest I’ll be darned if I can figure out how he got that old that quickly.

Anyway, as with his sisters, I’ve done my best to make sure he’s properly informed in a practical and sensible way about bodies, how they work, babies, where they come from and all those tricky questions kids seem to delight in asking at the wrong moment. I’ve always had the view that if they’re able to ask the question then they deserve an honest answer – no storks here please!

I’ve always tried to relate the baby question back to my own personal experiences. Each kid has been curious to hear about what it was like when I was pregnant with them personally. What it was like to give birth to them – not so much about what it was like having their siblings, but all about THEMSELVES.

Which led to me making a teensy weensy mistake with Fez Boy. You see, his big sisters were regular deliveries. He, however, got lost on the way out and was a quite scary emergency caesarean.

It wasn’t until he asked me a few weeks ago “If a lady has a normal baby in a normal way and there isn’t an emergency – how does it get out of her tummy?” that I realised I’d concentrated so much on how he was transverse and an emergency caesarean and I’d totally forgotten to explain ordinary childbirth to my son.

So I did.

His eyes got bigger and bigger. “Really? Mum vaginas really stretch like that? Doesn’t it hurt?”  Yes, yes it does, quite a bit. And yes, by the time it’s over, a mum is stretched in just about every body part she can name and in some she can’t, but that’s ok, it’s like an elastic band, we eventually ping back into something approaching the regular shape.

I watched him absorbing all this new information. Feeling a bit guilty that I’d somehow managed to forget to explain it properly the first time. Bad Mum me, shame, shame.

I was expecting him to respond with a bit of the usual “eeewww icky” kind of comments. But then Fez Boy said something that impressed me and amazed me.

Those big, awestruck, astounded eyes turned to look at me. “So you mean every mum I know has done this, unless she had an emergency or adopted her baby?”

”Yep, that’s right.”

“I can’t believe this!! Girls are just so incredible!!”

I might have made a mistake in the Biological Explaining Department, but somehow I’ve done something very right in some other department where it matters so much more.

Good Mum me, so proud of my boy.

* and if you don't know why I call his birth my John Hurt moment then you should watch Alien again. Specifically the chest bursting bit. At least from my perspective, it was a LOT like that :P

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Another Reason Why I Hate Breakfast Television

Haven’t blogged for ages I know. This could be because nothing terrible has happened to fire me with righteous indignation. Or it could be because I’m lazy. :P 

And this subject? Well, I do know there are more important things happening in the world today, thanks for pointing that out. But this is my blog and this is something that is still giving me the irrits every time I think about it. And I’m thinking about it – it’s like a sore tooth, I can’t leave it alone.

To the subject at hand!

This week I had my annual mammogram. This is not bloggable, it’s just a pain in the bum. Or in the boobs really, but hey. As part of the process, a lot of waiting is involved, in hospital waiting rooms, with bad magazines and commercial television. I always take a good book.

I’d zoned out the television, it was on of those dreadful breakfast programs that have advertisements and gossip masquerading as news stories.

But then they mentioned San Diego ComicCon and my geeky ears pricked up. Only to be brutally disappointed when I heard the next bit of the blurb. A fashion article. What’s Hot and What’s Not. At ComicCon.

Let that sink in for awhile – what is hot and what is not in fashion at ComicCon . . . . . I had hopes it might be just a weird non-geek way to introduce the coolest cosplays. But no, it was all about what the guest celebrities were wearing.

Leaving aside the myriad evils of hot/not fashion articles (ie body image, conformity, hypersexualisation and why is it nearly always women they pick on?) it’s bloody ComicCon you morons!! Yeah, maybe such-and-such does look like she just finished dropping her kids off at soccer (one of the worst “fashion” comments I heard). But maybe that’s just because she knows her fans care about her and her work and her skills, we don’t care about whether she looks intimidatingly super fashionably up to date. We aren’t about to judge her based on what she’s wearing!!

The worst comment by far though? One of the fashionistas talking about convention attendees and about how it’s so cute when they wear their little costumes. I’ve heard some patronising bullshit in my time but that nearly had me exploding in the waiting room. The trouble with yelling at the tv is that the bastards can’t hear me. :(

Geeks go to conventions. They go because they are fans and story addicts. They go because they want to share with other geeks and thank the people who help put shape to their favourite stories – either as actors or writers or artists or any of the wonderful jobs involved in dreammaking.

They don’t go because they want to look at "clothes horses" and be all judgy about them wearing the “wrong” shoes.

I have always been keen to proselytise for the geek lifestyle. If non-geeks (my kids call them “straights” as in the Cookie Monster saying “Should I wear my blood-spattered Lady Macbeth t-shirt to the park or will I just scare all the straights?”) want to jump on our bandwagon and join in the fun that’s great. I aim to practice inclusive geekery and encourage my kids to do the same.

But this is too much.

ComicCon is ours. It’s not yours. I know folks out here in Australia who view it as some kind of Mecca. A trip to San Diego would be a pilgrimage to something beyond great. We go to our local events like Supanova and we love it – but ComicCon? That would be magic.

And when we go we’ll wear what we damn well please.

And we’ll expect our heroes to do the same.

Take that breakfast talk show bollocks!!