Take away cable, television, Netflix, and video games, and at first what I had on my hands was a cranky and complaining little beggar in withdrawal, much to my chagrin. I'd like to think I don't lean heavily on electronic conveniences to pacify my kid while I get stuff done or take a moment to myself (or an hour, or an hour and a half). Alas, not the case. This wasn't an act in parental piety, but rather the reality of what it meant to land in a Parisian's apartment filled with not much more than 20 bookshelves filled with Marx en Francais. There have been a few exceptions, for example watching soccer in Arabic on Al Jazeera and a matinee- priced 3-D showing of Pirates of the Caribbean on the "MacDoe"-filled Champs Elysees.
Here's the fast working miracle of it all, a no-brainer to you strong-willed Waldorf, Rudolph Steiner adhering parents out there. He's reading now with a fervor that I've not yet seen before. It's hard to drag him away from a book now, as hard as it was to make him turn off the computer from the Marvel superhero games he'd somehow wormed his way into like a stunning Grand Slam that took everyone by surprise. The books have elevated from the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series to Roald Dahl snatched up in huge bites. "Hey, Mom, Look. Chapter 21. Goodbye, Violet!" The type size on the Dahl books is quite smaller than the script font of the Diary series, but you're still rewarded with illustrations on every page.
We have a few left to move through: James and the Giant Peach, the Bridge of Terabithia, and Charlotte's Web. At the rate of one book every few days, we might be headed toward Galignani before long.