March 3, 2003 - Monday
When I went to Harry's school to show a video in December, I was surprised by the reception he gave me. Still, it was easy enough to understand and knowing how much my coming in meant to him that day made me want to join his class this morning for Dr. Seuss story hour. Parents were invited to come and read to the kids in celebration of Dr. Seuss's birthday (yesterday). I was told that two other mothers were coming and I figured that was on the border of being about enough for a large group of three-year-olds to sit through. If more had been coming, I wouldn't have gone - as it is I scarcely work enough hours - but I did go and ended up reading Hop On Pop to the class, after reading Horton Hatches an Egg to Harry and a friend in the corner while the class was getting ready.
I hadn't told Harry I was coming this time, and he seemed awfully happy to see me, again running across the room into my arms. When the storytime started, he sat in my lap while the first mother read Green Eggs & Ham and then we moved together to the front and, just as Kathleen sat at the front with her mother, Harry sat on my lap as I sat on a small chair facing the a circle of children for Hop On Pop. The position was a little awkward, but functional and, more interestingly, Harry, sitting there on my leg, proved to be a wonderful straight man to my reading. Hop On Pop is a very silly rhyming book, of course, and I'm an emotive reader, so I was expecting a little good humor from the audience, but nothing like this. I've made Harry laugh plenty with my reading in the past, but this was a different child on display today; one helping to make his dad, and by extension himself, look good in front of his peers. As soon as I read the first page - "PUP UP, pup is up" - Harry turned his face toward the crowd of kids and issued a not-so-manufactured three-year-old guffaw. As best as I could tell, the whole group of children responded with a similar, happy sound. Then, for each of the next several pages, easily through half this book of borderline nonsensical rhymes, Harry led the laughfest and the other children followed. In fact, Harry pretty much laughed each page through the entire story, although class enthusiasm waned a bit as rhyming storyline - well, there's no storyline in Hop On Pop - remained at a plateau.
Of course, Harry asked if I was going to stay for playtime outside, but I told him I needed to get back to work. He asked "why?" a couple of times, but I think he knew that it wasn't going to work and let it go. We had both had fun and I lingered to help him with his snow pants, but then left him to his more normal day.