We recently did some rearranging in our house so that Joy and Grace could have separate rooms. This, sadly, will last only for while we remain here, in this nice roomy four-bedroom house. Once Carl starts seminary and we’re living in campus housing, it’ll be back to sharing! For now, though, they both seem to be thriving on the separation.
Joy, in particular, delights in having her own space. One of the first things I did was take the tiny bookcase that had been removed from their shared bedroom after I found them trying to use it to leapfrog between beds (and it, shockingly enough, crashed and narrowly missed Grace) and put it in her room. Her special picture books are on the bottom shelf, tiny books like Beatrix Potter and Brambly Hedge are on the top shelf, and the middle shelf is reserved for big girl, read-aloud books. Books that Grace would lose interest in after two pages, but Joy is finally old enough to listen to while someone else reads. Books like The Secret Garden, Betsy-Tacy, The Wind in the Willows, Five Little Peppers, Swiss Family Robinson, Hitty, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, The Railway Children, etc.
The book I placed on the shelf with the most secret hope was The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. That was the very first long book I ever read all by myself, and it is the book that started my lifelong love of fantasy. I so want my girls to love it as well! But I didn’t say anything to anyone, not wanting to influence Joy, and in fact didn’t even push any of the books on that shelf. I borrowed Little House in the Big Woods from the library and we started reading that together, but I left the middle shelf alone.
Then, one night, out of the blue, after Grace was tucked in and Carl came into Joy’s room to tuck her in, she handed him The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and said “Daddy? Can we start reading this?”
Carl’s never read it either, so now BOTH of them are experiencing (and enjoying) it for the first time. Both of them (separately) tend to come and fill me in on what they just read. Carl is mostly blown away with how different it is from the movie. “This is SO MUCH better!” he enthused. “Why did they even call the movie ‘based’ on the book, anyway?” The other night Joy chattered to me all about how Dorothy melted the Wicked Witch with a pail of water and won back her sparkly shoes, and how the Cowardly Lion isn’t really scary, he just pretends to be scary so he won’t be scared by everything else, and isn’t it silly that there’s a man made of tin instead of skin?
And I am dancing with glee.
Only a few more years before we can start reading Lewis, Tolkien, and Alexander!