In January, I started reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone to T at night before bed. We didn’t get to it every night. Some nights we were too busy and didn’t have time before we needed to crash. He’s also been spending more time at his dad’s – so we obviously didn’t read on those nights.
But on the nights we did, I would read about half a chapter and then we would say our good nights. He would talk excitedly about whatever had transpired in what we’d just read, and would bring up any differences he noticed between the book and the movie.
It took the better part of two months, but we finally finished. We followed Harry and his friends on their adventures during the first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. When T got his new glasses, he wore them proudly all day long – but especially at night when he was reminded how much he is like the brave little wizard.
Reading each night – or as often as possible – has had many benefits for the both of us. It has strengthened my son’s love of reading. It’s given us something to look forward to when he’s at his dad’s. It’s a guarantee of time to spend together, without distractions. It gives us a reason to snuggle together. It’s helped his literacy. He can read chapter books now, with the occasional help. It’s slow-going, but the look of pride on his face is just priceless.
We’re moving on to Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (book 1: The Bad Beginning). I read these books when I was in college, and I was quite entertained by the adventures of the Baudelaire orphans. When the movie came out (Starring Jim Carrey and Meryl Streep, it was an amalgamation of the first three books. I’m sad to say, I don’t think the rest of the series will be getting the Hollywood treatment.), I enjoyed it as well. The Count Olaf in the book (and in my mind) was a much crueler person than Jim Carrey’s interpretation, but I think the toned down, humored up version is better for viewers.
I shared the movie version with T after I found it on DVD for $5. He loved it. He had just finished obsessing over the Harry Potter movies, and we were just getting into the first book, and he was now obsessed with the Baudelaire orphans. He wanted to be an inventor like Violet, and he pretended to be Klaus who, like T, loves learning through reading. Luckily he did not find the need to relate to the third sibling, Sunny, who is an infant known only for her love of biting things.
At our friendly neighborhood bookstore, Grassroots, I found the first three books, plus various other ones from the series, and bought them immediately. T was stoked to own the books, and – in all honesty – he was very anxious to finish the first Harry Potter so we could move on to Lemony Snicket. He’s still in love with Harry Potter, but the Baudelaire orphans are new and exciting. He has even written a letter to Mr. Lemony Snicket that is currently awaiting postage. (Also? My kid’s first fan letter is to an author. LOVE.)
As a side note: T is currently reading this blog post over my shoulder and laughing hysterically. Possibly because I’m talking about his two favorite things: Harry Potter and the Baudelaire’s. He has also provided me with the title of this post.5
I’m glad we started reading every night together. We’re already halfway through the first of the Series of Unfortunate Events, and T has agreed that we’ll switch off between Harry and the Baudelaire’s. We both miss reading on the nights it doesn’t happen, and we celebrate the nights we end up going to bed just a little bit earlier so we can squeeze in a few extra pages. It’s been a fun experience, and I look forward to more nights snuggled in bed sharing literary adventures with my favorite monster.