Tag: family

Dear Children, You’re Fired…Or I’m Fired?

For weeks now, I have been trying to get my kids to read my official revised draft of Children of Planes

The youngest started to read it. To make it official, she even asked that I draft up a Inked41723143_1807676106012125_2867250365001105408_n_LIcontract of what my expectations were of her to be a professional reader:

Note the deadline of September 3rd….

Apparently, she got bored with the fact that “her character” wasn’t mentioned yet and hasn’t gone back to it. Suffice to say, if I was paying her to read it, she’d be fired.

The eldest was like, “oh… well you know I have soooo many books I have to read this year for L.A, so I can’t even…”

I’m pretty convinced that if my own kids won’t read it, it is likely pretty crappy.

So, what do you do when you’ve developed this new found interest to try to get a novel published, but then realize it’s likely to be crap?

Scrap it?

Get new kids who are properly brainwashed and want to read their mother’s manuscript?!

Will Travel for Good Food and Free Books

 

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Despite my state’s super high taxes and lousy roads, we have the golden opportunity to live a book lover’s dream. Some genius decided to combine the love of being a fat kid and the love of reading FREE books.

To be fair, most big chain book stores have cafes in their book stores, so there has been an established correlation between coffee, books, and snacks… but I’m talking a full service restaurant that has the look and feel of a library!!!!

 

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Oh, and beer:

In less than an hour of finding out the existence of this wonderland, I had a road trip negotiated. In a caravan of two cars, the Allaire family joined forces with the awesome S. family and made the journey to Traveler’s Restaurant.

The article lied about people who buy meals getting a free book. The reality is that you now get THREE free books each meal! I have to say, other than being concerned about the insane amount of Freudian psychology books sprinkled into the selection, they had an eclectic range.

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It was a bit awkward oogling books while people were trying to eat. Some of the selection is right above the tables, and since it is creepy having to look at those books, it’s likely where all the good books are.

I have to admit there were some personal boundaries crossed to get my three books.

 

Judy Chicago

Between a book about monsters of the mind and another with no name on the spine so it was clearly to be avoided, I saw a book penned by one of my favorite artists: Judy Chicago!

 

I was super psyched about Judy Chicago’s Through the Flower: my struggle as a woman artist because I had just finished a “History of Women in the Arts” course last fall. I was able to dazzle my table mates with facts of how awesome Judy Chicago was. Ironically, that was not the first time I had gushed about her feminine awesomeness, as I had included her in my final project about how women traditionally used needlepoint as a form of education AND activism.

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I could go on and on about her, but I digress.

Mr. Allaire abstained from getting books, which felt incredibly sacrilege. How could I marry a man that doesn’t see what a gift this restaurant is?!

I’m glad that this did not rub off on our spawn. They were as equally eager as I was to find their own bounty. In fact, once they found out that there was a used book store in the basement, they went crazy. The two eldest were about to battle for the last Dean Koontz book.

I didn’t buy anything from the store, because nothing could top my Judy Chicago book. I was in love, and at least until we got home again, there was no other book for me. At least for the day. So, if you’re ever in Connecticut and need a buddy to dine with at Traveler’s restaurant… I am your lady.

Family Reading Time

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34348147_10211190866983306_3776500550791593984_nIn the Allaire Family Constitution, it specifically states that 7-8 p.m. is reading time. Any use of electronics at this time results in the guilty party having to cluck like a chicken…

 

 

Suffice to say, we take our reading time seriously.

I found a lot of information on why you should read to children from early infancy, my favorite being “Why It’s Important to Read Aloud with Your Kids, and How to Make it Count” by Amy Joyce, but I couldn’t really find any that showed the benefits of reading as a family once the children have already learned to read. (Joyce’s post states that older children cite reading with their parents as one of their favorite family memories).

As such, here is my list of reasons why I still read with my nine and thirteen year old:

I Get to Read Kids’ Books:

No shame in my Diary of a Wimpy Kid game. Why does middle grade fiction have to just be for kids? I can enjoy fart jokes or sympathize with a kid feeling like he may be failing math class. It reminds parents and adults that the problems children face are important to them, if they may seem small on an adult’s grand scheme of things.

Conversations: The best heart to heart moments I have had with my kids have come from situations expressed in the experiences of others. Fiction allows us to see things from another’s perspectives, especially when they go through situations that we normally could not. For example, I will never be an orphan forced to leave India and move to dreary England, but the kids and I could sympathize with feeling alone like Mary had in The Secret Garden. We talked about the power of hope and how changing your perspective can open doors you never even thought existed.

Fluency in Reading: I am often assisting in appropriately pronouncing words rather than the super speedy blurring that seems to happen when kids don’t know exactly what they are reading but still want to complete the sentence. By catching and correct these fluency hiccups, I am helping to improve my children’s fluency. I’m also learning to pronounce certain words, although I blame my mother being Scottish on a few choice pronunciations.

Time is Finite:

Learning how to manage time is an important lesson for children to learn. Realistically, there are nights where we are not at home. We are, after all, a family of four and have social lives. Reading as a family has cut down a lot of the activities that we would otherwise have agreed to do. When we plan things and I know it will run into family reading time, I’ll say, “If we do this we cannot read Harry Potter tonight,” and the kids then have to prioritize their wants. In a world of constant extracurricular activities, this is a necessary tool for a well-balanced lifestyle.

Quality Family Time:

With homework, chores, and extracurricular activities, it’s hard to get everyone in sync. Reading time has provided a time where are all together without any other distractions. The teenager thinks we’re on a mission to read a book and then see the movie based on it (if there is one), but what we’re really doing is spending uninterrupted family time. We established a goal as a family and maintained it towards success. If we did not choose to carve time out of out busy schedules to invest in this goal, it would have happened.

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I’m not advocating for everyone set a family rule to spend an hour every day reading as a family, but what about once a week? If a family were to read an average 20 pages a week of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, it could be finished in around eleven weeks. That is an impressive goal!