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Where has the story gone?
We have been battling a winter virus of some sort at our house that has damaged our relationship with stories. For the past few weeks I have felt little urge to write or read. Kiff falls asleep a paragraph into the New Yorker and what's worse is Gabriel.

Gabriel has given up on the narrative altogether. He won't let me read stories to him at all. He is impatient with the cadence of language, the unfolding of events, the surprise of the ending. He just wants picture books, preferably Richard Scarry's "Best Word Book Ever" where he can point to things and list off their names.

I remember in my early 20's it dawned on me: While few of the men or women who had grown up downtown with me ever learned to drive, all the men in our group knew about cars. They could list off stats on horsepower and turbo injection and other crazy minutiae about the vehicles at hand. It was like they had been hoarding stashes of Autotrader like porn and pouring over them in their spare time.

It was then that I decided that men like to know about stuff. The nitty gritty details on stuff and things. And women, I decided, memorized emotional information. Like who seems to get tense when a particular person enters the room, or who harbours stirrings of a crush for another.  We remember to call someone to tell them we're running late, because no one likes to be left waiting and wondering. They remember the number of gears on the bike you rode when you first met.

While I'm not convinced that the generalizations I made up ten years ago can be widely applied, they are a fun template.

When I knew I was having a boy, people said: Get ready for trucks and things that go! And they were right! But Gabriel still took his "baby" for a walk around the block yesterday and spends all his time "cooking" at school - soup, pancakes, birthday cake - for his schoolmates.

It's just the end of storytime that's killing me. For years I have been practicing funny voices for reading kids' books, and now my skills are going to waste! Anyone want a stirring rendition of Go dog! Go! ?

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post #1438
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