Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Reading and Biking

Anna's first grade teacher is wonderful. One of the neat things she does is have a "mystery reader" every week. The kids get a clue every day, then the mystery reader knocks on the door 5 times, comes in, and reads the kids a book.

As you've guessed, I was this week's mystery reader. Anna was so stoked, and told me she acted like she had no idea who it was for her classmates, even when the clues were, "I am the parent of a first grader," and "I like to jog around the Lake with my dog."

I brought the James Herriot Collection for children (thanks, Steph!) and read them "Moses the Kitten," and "The Market Square Dog." I have to be a little careful when I read these tales, because I tend to get a little choked up and teary. James Herriot clearly loved the Yorkshire people, and speaks all the animals he treated with reverence. I spent some time with vets in the English countryside as a student, and a lot of the culture is still the same. Yet, knowing that so many family farms have changed, that the era he wrote of, nearly all the people and definitely all the animals are gone, fills me with so much sentimentality...

Also, I tend to read these stories with an English accent. But I make no apologies for this, especially when Herriot writes the farmer's words phonetically.

The kids really responded to "Moses the Kitten," where a hypothermic kitten is found nursing on a pig, an incongruous fuzzy black thing in a line of pink piglets. The first question a student asked after that story was, "Why don't you read the rest of the stories?" We did have time for one more - "The Market Square Dog," is about a stray finding a good home. These stories with their emotional hook are good for teaching all of us compassion for animals.




Meanwhile, Colin is training me for the triathlon early. Mondays and Wednesdays are my turn to drop the kids off at school, then I go directly to the Lake and jog with Francesca. This week, as he hugs me goodbye, Colin says, "Mommy, will you please pick me up on the bicycle?" and bats those eyes at me. We have a new kid's tandem bike that attaches to the back of my bicycle, and he loves it. So I've been biking on the hike-n-bike trails to his school and back (about 5 miles) after jogging Francesca 3 miles. OK, I do get a few hours recovery between, but both of them love it so much I can't say no. Especially Colin, who whoops every time we go under a bridge or over the water or see a squirrel. Plus his school friends think it's so cool.

6 comments:

Dana said...

I always loved James Herriot when I was a kid and wanted to be a Vet. Pets are treated with such great reverence in England. Of course, they can be spoiled rotten here, too, but our shelters hold proof of a different side of the coin.

Laura said...

Very cool that you got to read in Anna's class. Can I have some of your jogging energy?

EdamameMommy said...

oh good, I get choked up too, and I was given that collection of stories as a gift while I was pregnant (!) so you can imagine how teary the first readings were around here -- we savoured one per night until it was done and then started at the beginning again. Such good stuff! But I really stink at those phonetic regional farmer dialects, need your help. Hey I was waxing poetic about you today as I had a filling. My vet-sister-animal-dentist-extraordinaire!

Emily said...

I remember how much I loved it when Daddy would pick me up from elementary on his motorcycle. I felt so cool, too!

Hey, send one of those kids up here to train me for the tri!

Lula said...

If you knew HOW MUCH I loved James Herriot when I was young!! I wanted to be a vet for years and years and years, until I got older and dumber and lazier and didn't want to go to school forever, but that is beside the point. No wonder I like you so much, you have such good taste in reading material. (I always read the books with the accent in my head, too.)I actually just bought All Creatures Great and Small to listen to on my iPod! We are so cool.

peevish said...

What a cool reading program at school, and what a cool Mom with the tandem bike. Well, at least you can eat what you want when you are working it all off on the trail, right?