It's still unclear, though, how well Bud can read for content - how well he can follow the thread of a story, how attentive he is to the details, how much he can follow the shift of perspectives from character to character - the same challenges, of course, that he encounters in everyday life. But in recent months we have made the slow transition from storybooks to chapter books - from books meant to be read in one sitting to books that require a bookmark and a "let's read some more tomorrow." Every night I read another chapter to Bud. Sometimes I try to gauge how well Bud recalls what has already happened, how well he can predict what might happen next. Mostly, though, I try to figure out if he is even listening closely enough to follow the meaning of the words I'm reading.
Last night, Bud and I read a chapter of The Chocolate Touch by Patrick Skene Catling. It's the story of a boy, John Midas, who only wants to eat candy. In last night's chapter, John's parents were at wit's end. I read aloud the account of John's visit to the doctor as Bud hummed quietly in his bed, and though I wondered if he was tuning me out completely, I kept reading as John's father launched into a lecture:
"Don't you think there's such a thing as enough?" Mr. Midas persisted. "Don't you think that things are best in their places? I mean, don't you think there's a time for spaghetti and a time for roast beef and even a time for pickled herring and garlic toast, as well as a time for chocolate? Or would you --"
Suddenly, Bud bolted upright, grabbed the book from my hands, and shouted, "WHAT???"
His eyes scanned the page and I wondered what I'd read that had triggered a reaction that strong: had I just said something that sounded suspiciously like "Teletubbies" or "Dierks Bentley?"
"They eated TOES???" Bud asked incredulously.
"No," I said, thinking I'd caught the misunderstanding. "Garlic TOAST."
"They eated roast FEET???" he asked.
"Oh!" I said, "No, roast beef. Roast BEEF."
"Yes. Beef. It's like hamburgers."
"No, not toes."
Bud kicked back the covers, grabbed for his toes and tried to reach them with his tongue, apparently just to see how they'd taste.
It gives a whole new meaning to "putting your foot in your mouth," don't you think?
A very Happy Thanksgiving from Bud and me to all those who are celebrating it today. May you enjoy good times in good company - and may your holiday table be entirely free of roast feet.