My husband mountain-bikes with a group of like-minded folks every regularly in the evenings during the summer. They start in the spring when there is enough light to make it safe to zoom over rocks and stumps and stop when it gets too dark in the fall. There is little riding over the winter because mountain bike trails, being in the mountains after all, are not good to ride on once the snow and ice starts.
With dad out of the house, the Navigator and I have those evenings to ourselves. Our usual routine is to have dinner while watching a movie or a couple of Doctor Who episodes, then he plays quietly, gets his jammas on, brushes his teeth, and then we read together.
When dad is home, after dinner he and the Navigator play games. Sometimes it is dinosaur tag (the Navigator made that up) or chess, for which the Navigator makes up his own rules, sort of like Calvinball on a chessboard. Mom likes a quieter evening.
You don’t know what Calvinball is? You must read Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes – it explains everything about Calvinball. And, yes, the Navigator and Calvin have a lot in common, just without a stuffed tiger.
For months the Navigator has been reading the Harry Potter series. He was into the Order of the Phoenix when he stopped reading it a couple of weeks ago, going back to dinosaur textbook stand-bys. I wondered why he had stopped reading it and then I thought about the parallels in the story to his life right now.
In the Order of the Phoenix school, which had always been fun for Harry, stopped being fun and became drudgery and unpleasant. While there is no one at the Navigator’s school like the evil Professor Umbridge (I nearly wrote “umbrage” – see how clever J.K. Rowling is?) in the Navigator’s mind, his school is hard, drudgery and unpleasant. Perhaps the book is just too close to home for him right now.
I started thinking about another book for him to read, and suggested Watership Down. It is a novel about rabbits. Yes, rabbits. If you don’t know of it, you probably have the same dubious look on your face right now that the Navigator had when I proposed it.
“I really think you’re going to like this.” I said.
“It’s about rabbits?” I could tell he was thinking “is this a girl book, Mom?”
“It is a story of adventure with a little magic thrown in.” I answered.
“Does it have danger and escapes and fighting and heroism?” he asked. I wondered if he had been reading the back cover and was messing with me.
“Ok, I will look at it.”
We snuggled up and I gave him a much loved, much read, dog-eared copy with yellowed pages that I borrowed from my sister. “Just read the first chapter,” I said.
And he was off on an adventure – with rabbits!