Zoey really wants to read in The Gold Chair. Or maybe it should be all uppercase like this: THE GOLD CHAIR. Because apparently THE GOLD CHAIR is THE SHIT in kindergarten, except of course that is potty talk and we don't use that kind of language BUT HOLY FUCK, SHE REALLY WANTS TO READ IN THE GOLD CHAIR.
Truth be told, I would like her to read in THE GOLD CHAIR, too. And yes, I am finding all this willy nilly uppercase annoying, too, but you see, THE GOLD CHAIR is tufted, mustard-gold, stained, but most important of all, it is where you get to sit and read a book to the entire kindergarten class when you are ready.
And Zoey is not ready.
The night Max wore his wolf suit and made mischief of one kind...
This is the book Zoey has chosen, so every night we practice. T-hh-ee, she says. What sound does 'th' make, I say. Ch, she says. No, I say. Look at the letters. T-atch-ee, she says. His? No, I say, THE, the the cackling and popping in my throat like this:
The. So we've got the. And then we get to night. She starts to sound it out, enn, iih, guh hhu-? Night, I say, it's night, fast and dark, I don't know how or why but it's night, damnit. ThenightMaxworehiswolfsuitandmademischiefofonekind turn page andanother turn page hismothercalledhim"WILDTHING!"andMaxsaid"I'LLEATYOUUP!"sohewassenttobedwithouteatinganything.. Every page like this, plodding through words feeling tight in the chest and eyes quick, peering through the wrong end of our binoculars at THE GOLD CHAIR so that it looks as if it's even farther away.
Because I suck at teaching my daughter how to read. Night! I say, mischief! Rumpus! And then when she pauses too long, concentrate! A tiger mom who lost her stripes because I honestly don't understand how anyone learns to read when ghoti spells fish. Stay with me here: gh, pronounced /f/ as in tough /tʌf/; o, pronounced /ɪ/ as in women /ˈwɪmɪn/; and ti, pronounced /ʃ/ as in nation /ˈne͡ɪʃən/. Letters, words, sentences, all of it a mystery I don't care much to unravel, the beauty of it almost in its ineffability, itself an illogical thing to say.
When Zoey was a baby she hated the sand. Would curl up her feet like a newt if we so much as tried to sit her down at the beach, and Bryan was in a way almost hurt by this. So what? I said, the sand is kind of dirty if you think about it, but he is a water-man, a surfer and sailor with salt in his veins and sand in his cracks, and now I get it.
I love words. a, e, i, o, u, and all the time y. I want Zoey to love to read, and I know that she won't with me yelling at her night! So I told her I was sorry, that we were both learning here because I have never taught anyone how to read, the words pawing angrily at my teeth. LET THE WILD RUMPUS START! I am going to have to find a way to swallow the words, those wild things. Anyone know why night spells night? Because I don't, and as much as I'd like this post to end with a triumphant seat in THE GOLD CHAIR, it's not. Not yet anyway. It ends with the same thing tomorrow night. Night! Night.