Read World

A few weeks ago, K took what I expected would be a mild cold. When she lay lethargic, one day in, I took her temperature to find that it was 102F. Right. All plans were canceled. I selected a stack of books and settled with her on the couch, my forehead occasionally pressed against hers, checking progress of the fever. We did puzzles and watched a few videos, but mostly we just read.

The next day her temperature had dropped to 99F and her spirits had risen. “I’m glad you’re feeling better,” I said. “Not all better,” said K. “I’ll get some books to read.” When I returned with something to drink, I found that she most certainly was feeling better, at least better enough to move three quarters of our books to the foot of the couch. She was already snuggled down. “Time to read!”

So we read. All. Day. Long. It was a bit more difficult, her being squirrely and so obviously full of more-than-just-couch energy. But still, she had been sick and was still sniffly. Surely it was wise to have a quiet day.

When we rose the next morning, the fever was gone and the sniffles were all but dry. And yet, more books were added to the pile that never did get fully read the day before. “I’m still sick,” she chirped cheerfully. I approached warily. “We’ve done a lot of reading lately, and you seem to be feeling much better. Maybe we should try being up for a little while today.”

“Oh no,” said K. “I am still sick, and we should read all day long.” And as we settled down yet again, she announced, “This is the funnest thing ever. This is funner than Sea World!” And that’s when I realized I was overshooting the sweet thing’s expectations.

Of course, the phase lasted no longer, which is probably good for my sanity, not to mention my voice box. Saturday came with brother home; regular play returned; Monday brought a new week with fresh interest in the outside world. But it’s funny to me how little shifts in the house atmosphere–like the unexpected fever–can bring about shifts in interests and needs. That bookshelf, it’s there all the time, often asked about, sometimes raided, occasionally ignored. And then sometimes, it outshines even Shamu himself.

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