For you, the dress code is casual.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Kids: Not seen, Not heard

I’ve corresponded at length with someone recently on the prospect of whether I’ll have kids: No, no, and more no.

Why? It’s a freedom / committment thing, really. And I don’t want to hear all the “it’s the best adventure you’ll ever have!” arguments and shit. If I want adventure, I’ll buy an all-day amusement park pass or a trip to the Amazon. Either way, I have an end date for the adventure. Perfect.

However, I do like kids. In fact, I’m awesome with them. I’m straight up with them and I never patronize them. It’s a hoot.

My nephew’s to my right, as I type. He’s eight years old and he’s reading book nine of An Unfortunate Series of Events.

I consider one of my best accomplishments in the last eighteen months, aside from recovering from my two severe accidents I was in, is the love of reading I’ve passed on to my nephew now.

It began at Christmas of 2003. I’d asked him if he got any books for Christmas and he said no, “Thank goodness.” He didn’t like reading. Why, I asked. “It takes too long.”

I nearly freaked. The kid’s adopted, I thought. There’s no way he’s from this family!

And it baffled me. He was incredibly creative and had the best vocabulary of any kid I’d known at that age. He’d preface things, at six, with “Well, actually, Auntie, that’s incorrect.” Or he’d ask “Auntie, why does The Ring force its evil powers upon Frodo?”

And you don’t read? Good God!

So I took it upon myself to remedy the situation. He was staying with me on New Year’s Eve as part of an elaborate plan to actually get my brother laid for a change. The nephew stayed over and instead of watching television or anything, I bought a book. Not just any book. Nay.

This was How to Train Your Dragon by Hiccup Haddock the Horrible III.

It told the tale of an ordinary boy in Norway who happened to be the son of Stoick the Vast, the Viking chief of his island. As a rite of passage, the young Viking boys would be required to catch and train their own baby dragon in time for the Thorsday Thursday festival.

This was a 210-page book. I read it to him overnight, aloud. He was rivetted. It was then I explained how, for every Harry Potter movie or Lord of the Rings movie, there were hundreds of awesome books that’d never see a screen. Like Dragonology. Or Dragonrider.

But Hiccup’s book: A classic. Up there with Harry Potter and his friends. I laughed, I sniggered, I guffawed. And so too did The Kid. And so would you.

* * *

When the nephew was four, we were coming back from dinner at Dad’s. We got caught in a police roadblock for drinking & driving, and I thought I’d explain what drinking and driving was. Never drive with someone who’s been drinking. They don’t think right. It’s dangerous. Never. Ever.

I turned to him and asked, “So why shouldn’t you drink and drive?”

The Kid furrows his brows, looks at me, and says, “Because you should always use your cupholder.”