Randy and I are both bookworms. Whenever we go to a mall, we spend an ample time at a bookstore, choosing books and magazines. In our early months, we used to lounge around and just read together. We have built a library that is the envy of many. And thanks to his Tita Grace who migrated to the US and left several children’s books that were previously owned by her granddaughter, we have had several children’s books even before we got married. For the longest time, these books just sat quietly on the shelves. Randy frequently mentioned that he hoped our future children will love books. I seconded the motion–I imagined how blessed our children will be with the wide array of books we have collected for them! You see, as a kid, I was a voracious reader and I read practically everything! When I was in the first grade, I used to read Tagalog adult komiks under our helper’s bed, because Mom prohibited me from reading such (paano ba naman, I laced my vocabulary with words such as “gurang”, and asked them what a “sugar mommy” and a “chikinini” were). I also used to walk a hundred meters to go to my kababata Bubbles’ house under the guise of playing with her, but truth is that I just wanted to read her stack of Funny Comics that her mom subscribed for her (Mom did not subscribe for me! Hmpft). I also remember my neighbor and playmate, Astrid Hondrade, got mad at me once because “Hindi ka naman nakikipaglaro eh! Binabasa mo lang ang mga libro ko!” Indeed, I felt I was deprived of books! Tatay Randy has his share of stories of being book deprived, and so we fervently hoped that our child will love books. If I were our child, I know I would have gone crazy looking at the wide array of books at my disposal.
Enter Raviv. Even when he was really young (three months old), I used to read to him. When he got older and whenever I have time, I read him books even though he easily got bored and squiggled away from me to attend to other things. There were times I blamed myself–that I should have read more about how to interest a child to reading, and that I should have spent more time reading to him. Until…
Raviv’s Yaya Jocelle reported to me that Raviv gets any reading material and babbles gobbledygook as he flips through pages. I guess it was he imitating me. That made us glad, but I still got worried because he did not seem to focus on his books for a long time. That was until last Wednesday.
You see, I stayed in Quezon City from Monday to Tuesday afternoon last week. I felt guilty about having been away from my Krabito! So on Wednesday afternoon that week, after my class in Los Banos I got him from his nannies and played with him. After romping in the lawn, we went to the bookshelves that contained children’s books, and we saw this hardbound book that I bought several years ago when I taught English to three Korean boys. I think it was love at first sight for Raviv, because we spent a loooooooooooong time leafing through it, sitting on the carpet. When I eventually got tired of the book, I told him that we should go outside and play, but he would not budge. I left him and turned the lights off and hid beside a cabinet. He started to whimper an ran towards where I was hiding, and I was surprised to see him running scared while hugging his book! I carried him to the lawn, put the book on a chair and started to play, yet he always returned to the book! When we went upstairs, put him on our bed and put his book on a table, he pointed to the book! When his Tatay arrived, I told him about Raviv’s new obsession and he too was elated! Tired as he may be from teaching in and traveling from Lucena City, he was not able to help himself from reading to Raviv.
The following morning, Raviv woke up, calling his Tatay (who left very early because of his teaching stint in San Juan, Manila). I told him that his Tatay has already left. Upon absorbing this piece of information, he then pointed again to his book! Agang-aga, ‘yun talaga agad!
(if you’re thinking, “Si Raviv ba ‘yan?!? Bakit iba na ang mukha?!?”, READ THIS)
In the middle of the day, he stopped playing and running around as soon as he saw his book! He eagerly pointed to it and enthusiastically turned the pages, pointing to the pictures of each page.
Up to now, Raviv still feels the same way about his books. One of the scenes I will never forget was one evening when I saw Raviv on his playpen/crib, independently and seriously reading his book. I have just come from an overtime in the office and the scene that greeted me melted away all the stress I felt. If you know my son, he hates his playpen because he loves to “get physical”. But he was just there, quietly reading while his nannies were watching a Stairway to Heaven marathon on Fox TV.
Hay, I am just so happy that my little boy is into books too! I have no doubt he is going to be sports-minded but I really had doubts as to whether he’d love books. Now, I am just happy! I am going to buy him more books to encourage his new-found interest. Who knows, his journey to being a future Oblation scholar who plays football very well (and, OK fine, basketball na rin nga for your Tatay) have already been set. Go Anak!
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