Oh The Places We’ll Go

Luke is only six weeks old which means a couple of things: 1) He’s not great at conversation and 2) He’s pretty damn lazy. Seriously, the kid just lays around all day, crapping his pants.

Occasionally he demands attention from me, and like a good servant, I obey. But I’m lazy. So if I can find a shortcut to take me back to couch potatoland, nine times out of ten I’ll take it. Wouldn’t you?

For example, we’ve been reading the collected works of Dr. Seuss lately. But why waste the energy reading to him when an app will read it for me. Luke is entertained and I get to zone out for a couple of minutes, it’s a dream come true. That dream is made possible by the “Dr. Seuss Treasury App.”

Forgive the commercial here but I really want to plug this app. It’s Grinches, Sneeches, Horton, and a Lorax, all in one place but it’s also much more. These digital copies of Seuss’ timeless books come complete with music, sound effects, and a little animation. Plus there are lots of tools to help kids learn how to read.

The books keep his attention now but the app will grow with him too. If he clicks on a word, it will say the word for him. If he clicks on a picture it will say the word for that picture. So it will teach him how to read too? Sweet, that’s another thing I don’t have to do.

If I keep this up, in a few years, he’ll be asking to borrow my phone, not to play a video game, but so he can read a book. See, it pays to be lazy.

But it’s worth it. Parents, if you haven’t checked it out yet, it’s available on the iTunes Store and comes with a free trial.

At first, I didn’t think much of it. Reading came out of necessity. I needed something to do because I got sick of having staring contests with my baby. I can’t hold my guitar and him at the same time either. So, I turned to books.

I ran into the same problem here.Have you ever tried turning a page while holding a baby? It’s an embarrassing juggling act. However, my phone fits easily in my hand and I can turn the page with a flick of my thumb. Reading to him has quickly become our post-bottle routine because it’s relaxing and helps sleep come easy, for both of us.

If I’m being honest, I didn’t use the narration function on the app half as much as I thought I would. It became more fun to do voices for each of the characters. Some might say I’m putting a personal touch on it but I just look at it as a chance to hone my impressions. Really I only have five voices. And if you asked Bex, they all sound the same. She’s very supportive. By that, I mean that she won’t let me quit my day job. So, this leaves us with my versions of “The Cat In The Hat” as read by Al Pacino, “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” narrated by a drunk Dean Martin, and a very Jersey Hood version of “Green Eggs And Ham”.

It wasn’t until the other morning that I realized what I had accidentally done. Not only was Luke looking up and giggling at me (yes, giggling and smiling!) but so were Bex and Jenna. Actually, I almost skipped Dr. Seuss story time this morning but both ladies specifically asked for it. I’m sure if Luke could talk, he would have asked too. I had no idea that everyone in the apartment was enjoying this so much. Experiencing that brought back some fond memories and gave me an idea. As the Grinch would say, “It gave me a wonderful, awful, idea.”

When I was growing up, I liked to think of Saturdays as an “anything can happen day”. My mom would pack us up in the car and we would drive somewhere fun and exciting. Correction: It wasn’t always fun or exciting but it was certainly an experience. There’s a few Amish country adventures that I wish I didn’t remember. There was also a sheep sheering festival, giant checkers at Cracker Barrel, and something called hemp fest, that wasn’t at all what the name promised it would be. But there were also trips to the zoo to see a sled dog team, book sales at a local church, and walks through Letchworth State Park, just to name a few.

Whatever we did, wherever we went, always seemed to have something to do with what I was learning in school or something going on in our lives. For example, we coincidentally visited Harriet Tubman’s home around the same time I learned about the Underground Railroad in school. And we went to see a Dinosaur exhibit at the Buffalo Museum of Science around the time that I was just starting to tell the difference between a herbivore and an carnivore.

What a really convenient coincidence huh? At least that’s what I thought when I was a kid. Now, I know that my parents just paid attention and sought out things that would excite, enrich, and gasp teach me, about the world around me. Now that I’m a dad, I have the opportunity to do the same thing for Luke.

You don’t need to be psychic to hear how our future conversation will go about this first trip;

“So let me get this straight pop. You busted a four hour mission in bumper to bumper traffic, so I could see a statue.”

“. . . And a library.”

“I was six weeks old.”

“Well, we had been reading you a lot of Dr. Seuss and so it seemed like a fun thing to do.”

“But I was an infant.”

I packed up the family and we made a spontaneous road trip to San Diego, where we would visit Dr. Seuss’ statue at the UCSD campus. His bronze bust is accompanied by a seven foot tall Cat In The Hat, probably one of his most famous characters. It was great for photos and that was about it.

My mother, I am not. The entire visit lasted ten minutes because the library is only open to the public one day a year, Dr. Seuss’ birthday. So the trip turned out to be a bust. But we did pose for some fun photos in front of the statue.

Years from now, after a lifetime full of Saturday road trips, I hope Luke will look back and see that the tradition of half-planned spontaneous road trips started here, by reading some books together. I can’t wait to see where we’ll go on our next adventure.

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