Tuesday, October 13, 2009

My Henry

I survived another long instruction day, and am happy to be relaxing a bit more both at home and work. I'm still working on the prayer shawl for my mom, and it's coming along smashingly well. I should finish edging it by the weekend. I'll post a picture :)

Over the weekend, Henry accompanied me to Jo Ann Fabrics to collect yarn for a few other presents I want to make for Christmas. As we were browsing, Henry stopped his incessant grabbing of items off the shelves to gasp and point:

"Oh, MOMMY!! Look! That yarn is *BEAUTIFUL*!"

One would have thought that he had spotted yarn spun from 24 karat gold. Instead, he had spotted the ugliest yarn I'd ever seen. Red Heart Kids yarn, in a variegated variety of primary colors, entitled "Crayon." I tried to bypass it, but he insisted that we stop, so that he could touch the priceless yarn. Well, he is their targeted demographic, so I suppose they did a good marketing job.

"Mommy I love this yarn. Could we buy it?"

"*sigh* Well, it *is* only $2 per skein. Do you want mommy to make you something in it, sweetheart? Mittens? Or a hat?"

"Oh yes, Mommy! A HAT!!"

So, I'm now making a crayon hat for Christmas. Good stuff. I have to say, despite my aversion to the yarn, I'm really looking forward to it. When it comes to my dumpling, I have a serious soft spot.

The other night, before bedtime, Henry brought me The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein, to read to him. I actually don't like reading this book to him, because it makes me very emotional. We start out:

Page 1: "There once was a tree..."
Page 2: "and she loved a little boy."
*CatholicLibrarian bursts into tears*

I don't know what it is, but that line gets me every time. I (as we all are with regard to our kids) am at my most vulnerable with regard to my son. Nothing comes close in my order of priorities than protecting him and nurturing him. Nothing.

The rest of the story is isn't exactly an uplifter. The tree loves the boy so much that throughout his life, when he comes to her asking for something, she just keeps giving and giving him what she has until she's nothing more than a stump. And the kid never appreciates her, the little ingrate. I suppose it's a true metaphor of parenthood, but I always finish the book vaugely annoyed at the boy. I'm emotionally drained and he can't even thank the tree. Ah, well.

On a lighter note, I thought I'd take a moment to rave about a book that my mom got for Henry that he and I have been reading together lately. It's called Take Care, Good Knight, by Shelley Moore Thomas. I had no idea that this was such a gem when I cracked it open for the first time.

The story revolves around a trio of little dragons that are bloody adorable. They have on these cute little outfits with holes cut out for their wings. The illustrations in this book *really* make it, no way around it. Anyway, the little dragons live in a cave in the woods, and each morning and night, the Good Knight comes to wake them and get them started on their day, and then tuck them in later. Their cave has a photo of him on the wall. *SNORTS*

So, one morning, our after the Good Knight departs, an old wizard comes to see the dragons, and requests that they care for his cats while he goes on vacation for a day. Knowing that the Good Knight always told them to do good deeds and help others, they agree, even though they've never cared for a cat before.

Well. They arrive at the wizard's house, and find it packed to the gills with suspicious-eyed cats. Inside, a note from the wizard directs them to give the cats water, feed them from the food stash in the cupboard, and tuck them into their beds at night. Unfortunately, the dragons can't read. Thus, they try to interpret the pictures that the wizard drew on the note as clues to what they're supposed to do.

First, they see the water drawing, and assume that they're supposed to take the cats swimming in the lake. They pack the cats up and drive them in a mule cart caravan to the lake, where they also stumble upon an ice cream stand in the shape of a castle turret with a giant cone on top. At this point, I was already dying laughing. Out come the cats, and the next page shows them unhappily swimming in the lake, some deflating inner tubes with their claws, others yowling in protest. The Good Knight happens by, and is immediately perplexed. He asks the dragons what they're doing, and they reply that the wizard asked them to take the cats swimming.

"Cats? Swimming? I've never heard of that. But if the wizard said to do it, then it must be all right."

The same thing happens again, as the dragons take the cats home, towel them off, and examine item #2 on their list. The take the picture of the food cupboard to mean that they are supposed to stuff the cats *inside* the cupboard. The cats are handed up in an assembly line into the cupboard, and then squeezed in as the door is latched. Fur flies, cat paws jutting out every which way. The Good Knight wanders by again, but figures that if the wizard said to do so, who is he to doubt his methods?

Items #3 is to put the cats to bed, but the dragons are convinced that the wizard wants them to camp outside with the cats. The illustrations show cats miserably latching onto tent flaps with their claws, and getting gooey marshmellow fluff stuck in their pads from the s'mores the dragons are forcing on them. Finally, the Good Knight intervenes. He finds the note, and points out the dragons' misinterpretation. They quickly feed and water the cats, and tuck them into bed.

The Good Knight gets the dragons themselves home, and into bed.

"Good night, good dragons."
"Good night, Good Knight."

OMG. This book was so cute, clever, and funny, that I was holding my sides by time we got to the end. I insist on reading it to Henry every night, though I suspect he's ready to move on at this point :) I also discovered, via Amazon, that there are other books in this series. *Christmas present alert* Hank will be receiving the full set.

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