Late December. Back in some unnamed year. I had just emerged from the womb and was snuggled in the hospital bassinet thinking to myself, “Criminy—don’t you guys have anything to read around here?”
Not so with my son. He abhors reading. He has NEVER read a book for pleasure. In fact, I would venture a guess and say that he has read less than ten books in his entire twelve year lifespan, and then only because he had to read a book to get a passing grade on a required book report. Sad, isn’t it?
I’ve tried, I promise you. I subscribed to the Lego magazine, hoping that if he wanted to know about a product he would have to r-e-a-d the description. I bought him the entire Percy Jackson series hoping he would be intrigued with his own set of books (packed in a treasure chest no less!) and actually crack them open. I have complimented him when he successfully sounded out a large word, hoping that he would finally say, “Hey! Words are cool!” I have bought him reading software, hoping to trick him into thinking that reading is actually a really cool video game! But no. He would rather do things like this:
Well, summer is now upon us. That means he will want to do things like go swimming and flip off the walls on open-gym night. You know, things that cost money. (The library is free, did I mention that?) Since I have learned a few tricks in my twenty-seven years of mothering, I came up with a brilliant idea. Ya wanna go swimming—ya hafta read a book. Priceless, huh? Ya wanna go flip around a gym? Ya gotta read TWO books. (Open gym costs twice as much as swimming.) When I presented this genius of a plan, I was answered with the typical tween boy response: “What?”
Last night was the first night that he tried to get out of it.
Weston: You’re just trying to make me like reading and I will never like reading.
Me: I’m not trying to force you to like reading. I am trying to force you to read a book.
Weston: I don’t like reading.
Me: I know you don’t like reading. However, reading is an essential part of life and I
want to make sure that you’re at least comfortable with it so it’s not as painful for you.
Weston: But what if someone sees me?
Egads! No! What if someone saw Weston reading a book! He would be marked for life. He would never get invited to airsoft games. Girls would shun his very presence. He would spend a long, lonely life, sitting at his loom and counting his gold.
Happy ending: Weston read a book yesterday and although he estimated it would take him two weeks to finish, it actually took only an hour. He got a $3 credit and since he had some of his own money, he got to go to open-gym. With friends. Friends who will never know that Weston read a book. It will be our little secret.
(And just so you know how mean I really am, with every book he reads, he has to turn in a book report using capital letters at the beginning of a sentence and periods at the end. I know! Brutal, huh?)