Skip to content


June 14, 2010

Scene: AJ’s room. Harriet is helping AJ clean up. AJ is picking things up off the floor, while Harriet is going through the piles of things on his desk.

Harriet picks up a piece of paper and reads:

Max Meyers, 12, was just about to start his opening day baseball game. His team, the Blue Jays, were playing the Royals. Max batted fifth and played second base for the Blue Jays. The Royals were away, so Max jogged out to his position at second. He looked around the infield. His best friend Jake, playing first, was ready. Chris, the Blue Jays’ pitcher was winding up. “Stiiirike!” he heard from the ump. “Ball one!” he heard. Then he heard the ding of metal hitting leather and saw the white sphere rolling toward him. He charged it, picked it up, spun and threw it to Jake. “Out!” said the umpire.

Harriet: [holding up the piece of paper] AJ, what’s this?

AJ: Oh, it’s just a story I wrote. Don’t read it. It’s not done yet.

Harriet: I’m sorry, but I already read it and it’s a great start to a story. Did you do this in school?

AJ: No. I did it when I woke up early yesterday.

Harriet: You wrote this for fun?

AJ: Yeah.

Harriet: Well, it’s really good. I hope you’ll write more of it.

AJ: Do I have to?

* * * * *

This pretty much sums up the summer dilemma around here. When left to his own devices and banned from video games, AJ does some pretty great things all on his own. I want to give him time to find something interesting to do and do it. The problem is that he spends his summer feeling like we’re taking away all his fun by limiting his video game playing and going to play at The Boy Across the Street’s house, where the video games rules are much more lax. We do a lot of arguing.

I love the start of his story. I really do want to read more. But by stepping in, even accidentally, I may have taken the fun out of it for him. AJ has mixed feelings about writing, and it’s reminding me of how I felt about mine at his age. People were always telling me I did it well, but I didn’t always enjoy it. The physical labor of writing was hard. I have terrible handwriting and I was always getting chastised for it. And my hand could never seem to keep up with what I wanted to say. I think AJ has some of the same problems, although lucky for him, his handwriting is not quite as dreadful as mine. In my end of year conversation with his teacher, she said exactly the same thing. He has to be coaxed to write. He always tries to stop short. But he has great ideas and tells them well when he finally sits himself down and does it.

• • • • •

We are tired of feeling soggy, here at Spy Headquarters. It has been raining so long that there’s nowhere for the water to go but into the air. It’s only 64 this morning, but you still walk out the door and get drenched in sweat almost immediately. This is making everyone in the Spy family a little disgruntled. Mr. Spy was unhappy that his running clothes, hung up to dry indoors yesterday morning were still not dry by this morning. I am grouchy because I pedaled to water aerobics — I declined to teach this summer, but I thought I’d take a class — and no one was there, even though it is neither freezing nor actively raining. AJ was grumpy because the rest of us were grumpy and because I laid down the law about video games in the morning (no, no, a thousand times no).

AJ is now off at baseball camp (in the rain). Mr. Spy is mowing the lawn (in the rain). And I am about to pay some bills. None of this is likely to aid our collective regruntlement. I’m going to have to come up with a plan for the afternoon.

But for now, I’m going to try to think happy thoughts.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. freshhell permalink
    June 14, 2010 11:10 am

    Does AJ like typing? Dusty likes to fool around on the computer – typing stories, making random powerpoint presentations for no reason other than figuring out the program. She even likes excel though she has no earthly reason to create a spreadsheet. Perhaps if there’s a spare computer, AJ can do that instead? Maybe type his stories while no one’s watching?

  2. Terri permalink
    June 14, 2010 5:09 pm

    Wow, no passive voice. I don’t know anything about child linguistic development, but as an editor I’m going to say that his penchant for active voice is promising, indeed.

  3. June 14, 2010 5:37 pm

    Yes, Terri, I think I could learn a thing or two from him. Freshhell, that’s a good idea. I have three spare computers, none of which works properly. I’m hoping I can resurrect one of them so he can have his own one of these days. Mr. Spy and I spend so much time on ours, that it can be difficult for AJ to get any time. And when he does, he just wants to play more video games. It’s a neverending battle against mindless technology.

  4. June 14, 2010 8:42 pm

    Perhaps one can never be too young to learn to get the “story” screen up when mom goes by and the video game screen back up when the coast is clear?

  5. June 15, 2010 9:30 pm

    I am really tired of this weather. I keep wanting to suggest a bike ride, but not in the rain. Poor Mr. Spy, doing chores in the rain is the worst.

  6. June 15, 2010 9:43 pm

    I would love a bike ride, if my bike hasn’t dissolved into a puddle by the time it stops raining. Poor AJ’s baseball playoff games keep getting rescheduled. They are now running 6 days behind schedule.

  7. June 23, 2010 11:00 am

    If he can’t yet type fast, why not dictate it to a recorder?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: