Tuesday, May 04, 2004

I was reading to the kids on Thursday, and I started thinking about sharing children's entertainment with your own children.

"The Experts" say that you should watch television with your kids, and until children learn to read, you pretty much have to read with them. So children's entertainment is obviously a interdependent activity for many years of both a child's and parent's life. On the other hand, it seems that children's entertainment is one of the few things that is universally despised. People bitch and moan about how dumb Barney and the Teletubbies are.

Of course, they are children's television.

Anyway. I really enjoy reading to Calliope, though admittedly not over and over. I like watching Boo-Bah and Teletubbies with her, also. Boo-Bah is my favorite. I find it relaxing, and the colors are pretty. It is vaguely psychedelic, which I imagine appeals to elemental pattern making structures in kids brains: Bright colors, kinetic shapes, simple movements, and broadly mimed facial expressions.

I suspect a certain level of cartooniness really helps children and adults to share entertainment. A coworker passed along a couple of review copies of books by Charles Fugee, and I really enjoy their simple storylines and engagingly kinetic art. So does Poppy. Sometimes I Like to Curl Up In A Ball taught her how to stick out her tongue. With gusto. Sandra Boynton is very similar in character, if simpler in art. The art in Jan Brett's books is lush enough to appeal to me while reading to my kid.

Calliope loves books, even if she doesn't quite get them. She uses them to enhance her store of images, mostly. She's only just beginning to recognize when we deviate from the storyline. I tried to sing her a book to the tune of a Barenaked Ladies song the other day. She was offended that I was trying to pull one over on her. Sometimes, she tries to read back to us... pointing at the lines on the page and reciting: "Ya, ya, ya, ya, ya."

It is especially amusing when she sees graffiti on the construction sites around our home.

Reading: SAMS Teach Yourself JavaScript in 24 Hours, at around two chapters a day. This means I am reading nothing else for a couple of weeks but old magazine articles after I've finished a chapter on the train. Mostly various Poets and Writers articles, and some science articles in Time.

I do this because I will not read the book in my free time at home (that's for watching movies and writing short stories and gaming articles to drop in the black hole of submissions). I cannot read more than a chapter on the way in and a chapter on the way home. If I try to read two chapters on one leg, I will mix them up before I have time to do the exercises. So I have to fill the spare moments with something. Therefore, I catch up on my magazine reading.

I like the SAMS books. I learned HTML from them. I've started the JavaScript once before, but this time it's taking. And two other books have failed to pound it through my thick skull.

I have no idea why I try to read programming books when I am so bad at actually learning from them, but I do. It is a kind of masochism that also drives me to read physics without having the math to really understand it.

No comments: