Friday, July 18, 2014

Harry Potter and Star Wars

Last night, The Wife wasn't feeling very well, so after dinner, we sent her to bed, and I took care of The Boy, Little Bear, and Scooter.

I've decided that I'm going to try to make the nickname "Scooter" stick, because The Baby spend a lot of time scooting on his butt to get places. He's starting to adjust a bit to the cast - he still wants to climb, but he's not trying to walk. For his party, we moved the kitchen table in the middle of the room and the little person table to the middle of the living room. We'll probably keep it there, because it gives something for him to hold while he hops and scoots about.



So far, he's very good humored about the whole thing. We'll see how long it lasts.

The night went smoothly. Scooter sat by the play stuff and built with magnetic sticks. Little Bear pestered him for a little while, but ultimately stopped when he got kicked with the cast (alas, unintentionally). The Boy whined for my iPad for a little while, but when he realized I was serious about it, pestered Little Bear until he got punched (intentionally). "What were you doing to deserve that, The Boy?"

"Pestering him."

"Well, what did you expect him to do?"

He pondered that, then walked away and played fairly nicely with Scooter.

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At bedtime, we read the first chapter of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. I've decided that I'm going to use chapters - or parts - as bedtime reading for the indefinite future. I read Little Bear right to sleep, but The Boy was gripped fairly well. I did some editing of material; J.K. Rowling does tend to use a lot of language and describe some things that she doesn't need to describe. So, to shorten it a bit and keep it moving, I skipped over some descriptors. It's still pretty deep reading, but it'll be cool to spend a month or two working our way through the book together.



This leads me to think about how differently my children can enjoy and experience some things that are precious to me. Like, The Boy already knows that Anakin Skywalker is Darth Vader. Way back in 1981, before the Internet, I saw Empire Strikes Back. The revelation that Darth Vader was Luke's father absolutely changed my life. A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back is entirely different when viewed the prism that you already know who Luke is and who Darth Vader is.

My niece was 8 when the first Harry Potter book came out, The first book uses simple language (a lot of it, yes, but it's not complicated). The characters are well-developed, the plot is easy to follow, and the bad guys are evil without being too frightening. It's perfect for an 8 or 9 year old to read. Ms. Rowling's writing style changes and matures as the characters in the series do; the books came out one per year, as my niece matured, and the plots and characters became more adult as she did. Her experience reading the novels was very unique, and it will always be a special part of her childhood. The Boy, on the other hand, has access to all 8 movies and all 7 books right now. It's kind of up to him to experience it at the tempo and pace that he can, and he'll probably read it earlier than he can actually understand the material.

We don't watch live television, so the boys don't really have experience watching commercials. They're used to watching shows on Netflix and On Demand (at Grandma's house), which means the episodes state and end when they want, they have their choice of episodes, and they can crash through the better part of a season if allowed. That's very different from when I grew up, when we had the three major networks and a dozen or so cable channels, which expanded into 24 channels with some occasional extra stuff. If we missed the show, we missed it. VCRs weren't widely used until later, and tapes were initially expensive enough that they were used sparingly. Feels like a different country, doesn't it?

I honestly don't know how they'll interact with new content. I don't know what shows will grab them, and what book series will captivate them. This is truly a golden age of content: more awesome movies, books, comics, and shows are being produced than ever. There are so many amazing choices! I just hope that they will enjoy some of the same things that I have; I'd love to have the pleasure of taking them to a comic book movie, or a James Bond movie, when they're older.

Cute bit: The Boy got lonely sleeping on the top bed and snuggled his brother to sleep. May they stay close and loving for the rest of their lives.


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