My little man and I used to do a lot of reading before I walked him to school. I had an hour between when his mom dropped him off and when we needed to get out the door. Avoiding screens and trying to engage with him, Dr. Seuss became our buddy. Getting the little guy to laugh was always my goal… a connection, a win. Crazy voices, odd accents, pacing the rhymes correctly… it all helped. One day we were reading Go Dog Go. It’s pretty tame, none of the crazy drama of Green Eggs and Ham, but some fun moments. There was the hat schtick. “Doooo youuuuu like my hatttttt?” In a pompous voice. “No, I do not”, in a flat bored voice. Cute but not the best. The best section… the part that got him hysterical every single time we read it was the one with the crossing guard. When that little bird screamed “STOOOPPPPP the light is red” making the cars screech to a halt… it was beyond hysterical. Looking at the picture below, it seems tame enough, but not the way I read it. It was over the top screeching, yelling, a most dramatic moment, producing milk out of the nose hysteria. Turn back the pages so you can read it again… hysteria. And every single time he reacted with tears in his eyes, gasping for breath, I felt I had won the lottery. Connection.
We still walk to school each morning. My little man is now almost as tall as me. Besides some cuddling while he plays legos, he mostly does his own thing. We have a few quips back and forth but he is growing up, as kids do. I am no longer hysterical. When I feel the need for some old time silliness I wait for our walk to school when we will see Doris our crossing guard (who clearly studied at the Go Dog Go Academy of screaming). We hit her corner and wait for her to put up her stop sign… as we pass I bend down and pantomime “STOOOPPPPP” and he cracks up, snorting, eyes twinkling, and repeating the next few lines from the book. Making eye contact, skip in his step. Connecting.