Reading and eating...

Isn't it a terrible feeling when, happily assuming that instinct is all powerful, you leave aspects of raising your children to nature, and it doesn't work? There my older son and I were yesterday afternoon, hustling his way through the last of the summer reading that has to be done by Thursday morning (and this is not the part I feel bad about, as procrastination is our normal way of being in the world), and he allows as how he wants a snack, and can he watch a dvd while he eats it.

"I'll get you something, and you can read while you eat," I tell him.

"But I can't read and eat at the same time!' he cries.

Shock and horror on my part. Every day of his life his father and I have been modeling this behaviour for him, but have somehow failed to link eating and reading in his mind. Sigh.
So I got him his snack, and I held the book for him while he ate with one hand and turned the pages with the other. Sigh again. Like learning to ride a bicycle, it will probably take time, but then, I hope, he will have mastered this useful skill for the rest of his life.

On the other hand, if he doesn't, at least he won't have to go through the same thought process I do: "I'd really like to read new hardcover Book X, but I also want ice-cream, so I will have to settle for ratty paperback book y." This is probably why I re-read my comfort books so often.

But anyway, other parents, watch your children and make sure they are not just snacking in idleness, or in front of the tv! Or you, too, might have to sit on the sofa re-reading the same bit of Encyclopedia Brown four times over, waiting for the page to turn.


  1. Hee, hee. I, too, never realized this was a learned skill. I've gotten to the point where I almost CAN'T eat without reading something...anything. Our kitchen table is sometimes so covered with reading material that it's hard to find room for the plates.

  2. Sadly, I am at the opposite point--I almost can't read without eating!


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