Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Hot off the virtual press: Just spent close to an hour going through this Scarry BEST WORD BOOK EVER that my little brother and I had when we were little and Mom gave the girl on her actual Birthday Zero and, you know, we probably didn't even make it halfway through. Especially allowing for digressions to talk about each two-page spread, you can probably occupy a curious kid with that thing for three or four hours, no problem, provided all that anthropomorphism doesn't start in on the old sanity erosion--which you definitely want to watch our for when you're home alone with the kid, always and no exceptions--but I kept checking the digital clock on the cable box waiting for it to be 2:00 and NapTime. At five minutes till, I told her that we had five more minutes and then it would be time to use the toilet and get pajamas on and read one more thing before taking a nap.

Then it hit me. She knows numbers. But, so far, telling her "one more minute" is pretty much interchangeable with and as abstract as "just a little bit more" (which she busts out all the time, these days, unfailingly accompanied by thumb and finger an infinitesimal distance apart, a very little bit). So, I stopped reading and said, "See the numbers on the cable box? That's a 1 and a 5 and another 5 over there. Right?" Nod. "All right, well pretty soon here, that second 5 is going to change into a 6. And that means one minute went by. Then it's going to bump up to a 7 and then an 8 and then 9 and then the whole thing's going to change to a 2 and a 0 and another 0. And then it's going to be time to stop reading this book and get ready for NapTime, like I said before. Does that make sense?" She points at the clock. "The numbers are going to change one more minute." "Yeah, that's pretty much it." "I want to see it." "Well, take a look." And three seconds didn't go by before that 5 clicked over to a 6 and her jaw just dropped. Astonishment, pure and total.

As you might expect, we did not read another word of Richard Scarry, but crouched down in front of the clock, marveling as the next four minutes clicked by. The wonder was pretty much gone by 2 of the clock, she jumped up the instant it changed and ran to get ready. Will probably give this a little while to sink in before we hit military time.

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