Friday, October 22, 2004

Roger-san blog.

Halloween dance at Lilly’s elementary school this evening. The theme was “Pirates of the Caribbean,” and a good many children and some adults wore pirate costumes, but no one looked much like Jack Sparrow, or even the mute pirate with the parrot. The winner of the adult costume contest was pirate of a sort, but more noticeable was his blue ZZ Top beard. Maybe he was Blackbeard.

Not everyone was in pirate garb, however. Lilly, for instance, tested out her Blue Fairy dress with peaked hat, which she’s already picked out for Halloween. This outfit had some advantages, especially that I could pick her out in the crowd. We put Ann in a dress that Lilly used to wear –- a “Cinderella dress,” though the tiara had gone missing. Guess that would be Cinderella after her extreme supernatural makeover, but instead of glass slippers, a frightening thought all by itself, Ann wore shiny black shoes.

Child development notes. Lilly has reaching a tipping point in reading. It’s been some time in coming, of course, but now she’s really reading and understanding a lot, and coming to me often to puzzle out words she doesn’t, which she then assimilates. Moreover, she wants to read. I think of all the places I’ve gone on the wings of print, paper and electronic, and marvel for her. Also, she’s writing stories, five- or six-sentence jobs, sometimes coming to me for spelling advice. Time to invest in a child’s dictionary, I think.

Ann now associates videotapes with something she wants to see on TV. Just a matter of observation, I suppose, and even though Lilly must have come to a similar conclusion at about the same age (I don’t remember exactly when), I was mildly surprised when Ann (nearly 21 mos.) opened one of the cabinets under the TV, took out a tape, and gave it to me with some grunts of urgency. Sometimes I think I hear “I want.” Anyway, she’s enamored with an NHK toddler show, a sing-and-dance production. We have several of these tapes, plus a double CD set of some of the songs for the car.

Yuriko told me about the young man on this show –- NHK is Japan’s national broadcaster, something in design like the BBC –- who’s a wholesome-looking chap with a big smile and a nice voice. Once, when NHK decided not to renew his contact with this show, the broadcaster was flooded with letters from mothers of young children, demanding, probably in that oblique way Japanese demand things, that he stay. I can see why. Ann will sit and watch him. Anything that gets your toddler to sit still for a few minutes is something you don’t want to lose. NHK renewed his contract, and I think he’s still doing it: the Mr. Rogers of Japan.


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