I'm a really great dad, in theory. I'm totally the dad that builds forts, takes them to the park, hurts myself for a laugh, and reads them any story they want.....except when I'm not. Then I'm a selfish deadbeat prick. Liam will look up at me with his big blue eyes and ask "daddy, outside?" and I have to tell him "not today pal, daddy needs to watch 'Arrested Development' reruns and drink".
Until recently the reading to them part has been particularly taxing. Don't get me wrong I've never turned down a request. As everybody knows, reading to your children is right up there with feeding them on the list of "Things to Do to Keep You Out of Shitty Parent Jail" so of course I've been doing it. I just haven't been that into it...not all of the time anyway. Some of those books suck butt. I've taken to hiding some of the really hideous ones or just changing the entire story as I go (SPOILER: In my version of We're Going on a Bear Hunt, the bear makes out really well in the end). But just recently there's been a shift. I've really started to dig the reading.
I think this is because of two things: 1) Liam has started reading along which is way cool and 2) we've weeded out all the real crap through a kind of natural selection, a kind of "Board Book Darwinism". In fact we're pretty much down to just two. The first is Up and Down by Oliver Jeffers ("Uppy-down as Liam likes to call it). It's the story of a boy and his penguin who dreams of flying. It's cute, funny, heart-warming, and best of all really really short. The next is, of course, Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. Yeah, I know. Look, I didn't want to love it either but I can't help it!! It's not even a story, it's just a little bunny kid saying "goodnight" to all the crap in his room. Fucking stupid, right? You'd think so but I love the great green room and so does Liam. It moves along at a nice pace and there's something just so goddamn fun sing-songy about it, "...a comb and a brush and a bowl full of mush" Hee-hee! But my favorite thing is Liam's little squeaky voice reading it to me, "...g'night staws, g'night aiw..." I honestly want to find an island where no one says their 'r's and raise him there.
If I've been slow to embrace the story time I'm not going to feel too bad about it. I plan on making up for it soon enough. I figure four more years will be adequate time to wait before we launch into Harry Potter. They'll be old enough by then, at least for Sorcerer's Stone, and that should give me enough time to really nail down all of the voices.