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A Different Kind of Anchoring

by Patti Kirkpatrick

azfamily.com

Posted on September 11, 2009 at 7:41 PM

The fact of the matter is, I read out loud for a living. They call it "anchoring." Weird use of the word, I know.

The fact of the matter is, I read out loud for a living. They call it "anchoring." Weird use of the word, I know.

But when I get home at night, my anchoring continues. Only it's different. Ever since my daughter, Bailey was tiny, I read to her. I remember distinctly the first book I read to her. The Very Hungry Caterpillar. She couldn't get enough of it. And frankly, (you parents out there can relate to this) it got a little tiresome reading her favorites over and over and over for the 50th time. But now, I have those books stored in a closet and every once in a while we pull them out and look at them and laugh and remember...like, Carl, the dog, the one with no print, and you'd have to make up the story to go with the illustrations.

But Bailey is 12 now and my guess is most parents don't read to their kids at this age. But every night after I get home from work, and make sure everyone's been fed, I get into my jammies (too much information) and we play cards first. Gin Rummy usually, sometimes Crazy Eights to mix it up. B.S. if her step-sister, Jenna is here. It's a nice way to wind down and talk about the day. I make a major point of just playing for fun and keeping the competition to a minimum. Mostly she wins. After a few hands, we read.

Right now, we're reading The Glass Castle, by Jeanneatte Walls, the amazing memoir of a girl growing up in a truly eccentric family, wandering around many parts of the country that are familiar to us. (Check it out on Amazon-I highly recommend it!) We've also recently read The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd; a childhood favorite of mine, The Secret Garden. Inkeheart and Inkspell, by Cornelia Funke-fabulous. And I'm sure we didn't miss a single book by Roald Dahl.
And this is not the kind of reading you see on Good Evening Arizona...not by a long shot. I mean, I get INTO it. I'm doing voices and we're talking about these outrageous people and it's just a hoot.

I guess one of the reasons this works is that during the week, she only gets a half hour of "screen time" each night. These days, that's video games. Except Wednesdays. I got roped into letting her watch that wretched program "America's Top Model" from 7:00-8:00. I've watched it with her and Jenna a few times and while I don't really like the constant obsessing over hair and makeup and looks and body (hmmmm...sounds like the women in the newsroom) the show is well-produced. But still, a lot of mean girls there.....(not the newsroom.)

So, I'm treasuring every minute of my at-home anchoring, wondering how long it will last. As long as I keep finding good books....as long as she doesn't have a cell phone...as long as she still likes to snuggle up next to me.

Oh, I guess I should just be grateful it's lasted this long. Today, another milestone: she's been bidding for the front seat in the car. I said not 'til you're 5 feet tall because of the air bag danger. This morning, she rode up front with a big smile on her face all the way to school.

Next thing you know, she'll be anchoring to her baby.

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