The Writing Mamas Daily Blog

Each day on the Writing Mamas Daily Blog, a different member will write about mothering.

If you're a mom then you've said these words, you've made these observations and you've lived these situations - 24/7.

And for that, you are a goddess.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


Story Time

It’s 7 p.m. — story time at our house — and as I wait for my daughter, Emi, to finish zipping up her fleece jammies, I quickly open Where the Wild Things Are. She runs over, grabs it, and tosses it aside.


“How about Olivia?” I ask, as I always enjoy the antics of the little pig inspired by Jackson Pollock to splatter paint her bedroom.


Guess How Much I Love You?”


I sigh as she pulls My Big Girl Potty off the shelf. I bought this when we began potty training and, from a literary perspective, it’s really not all that interesting. No imaginary adventures to far away lands, no sweet conversations about the infinite reach of love between Big and Little Nutbrown Hare. I guess I should be glad she’s interested in the whole potty idea, but do we have to read this book every night? Why doesn’t she love Max and The Wild Things as much as I do? It bugs me. Just like it bugs me when I pass a copy of a novel I’ve especially liked on to a friend and months later, I spot it stacked on a bookshelf, forgotten under a layer of dust.

I have always been a lover of reading and books. Some of my earliest memories are of snuggling up with my dad before bedtime with Mog the Forgetful Cat and Bread and Jam for Frances. Now I often trade hours of precious sleep to get in just one more chapter of the novel I’m reading or to tear through the latest issue of The New Yorker.

In my daughter’s case, I would like to say that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, but, frankly, it concerns me that she does not appreciate the obvious superiority of Where the Wild Things Are to My Big Girl Potty. Worse yet is when she doesn’t seem that interested in reading at all. We were in the middle of Madeline the other night and she just got up and walked away when the heater kicked on. Apparently, hot air coming out of a vent in the floor is more captivating than a tale of an emergency appendectomy set in freaking PARIS. I’ve begun to worry that someday in the future I will find my beloved copies of To Kill a Mockingbird and Pride and Prejudice stashed under her bed, untouched…

Perhaps I am getting ahead of myself. She is only 2, after all. Even more important, this irritation with my daughter’s reading preferences brings up an uncomfortable question: Am I putting too much pressure on her already to like the things I like? To be like me? It’s one of those things we parents try to tell ourselves we won’t do — no one wants to turn into the cliché of the jock father forcing his son to try out for the football team ― and here I am, catching myself in the act before my poor kid is even out of diapers.

But it’s difficult not to have hopes and aspirations where our children are concerned. I know I will have opinions on clothes, boyfriends and choices of colleges and sometimes it will be hard to decide whether or not to share them. And if I do share, I must brace myself for the possibility of rejection. Someday she just might prefer math to reading (and I’ll be hopelessly inept at helping her with her homework), choose to live on the East coast instead of the West, or ―gasp!— vote Republican. And I will need to remember to keep my eye on the ‘big picture” goal of raising someone who thinks for herself.

But it is nice to hope that we will share some commonalities.

Yesterday, I got dinner started while Emi “sorted” the mail and when I peeked in to the living room to check on her, she had a magazine spread out on her lap. She looked at me and proudly announced, “I read The New Yorker!” It was upside down, but still… Maybe I’ll try and sneak in the latest David Sedaris essay tonight before the heater comes on.

By Shannon Matus-Takaoka

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