Mr. Carter the book critic

GA Voice - - Outspoken -

The chil­dren in your life want you to be proud of their ac­com­plish­ments, but isn’t the op­po­site true too? Don’t you want them to be proud of your ac­com­plish­ments as well? Of course, but I am learn­ing there is an age re­stric­tion on that ex­pec­ta­tion, since Mr. Carter is a lit­tle young to care what Mom does in her life just yet.

A few months ago, I re­leased a chil­dren’s book with two other au­thors called “Whale of An Idea.” The year-long project is geared to­ward tod­dlers like my son and is the story of a whale who dis­cov­ers what ideas can do and that the size of the thinker does not de­ter­mine or limit the size of the idea.

Mr. Carter isn’t much of a reader just yet. He is a guy who likes to par­tic­i­pate in in­ter­ac­tive play, so sit­ting still while Mom reads him a story is not his idea of fun. I think since he doesn’t un­der­stand what on the page I seem so in­ter­ested in, he gets frus­trated and would rather play with cars or laugh at a car­toon with me. Even though I have tried to point out let­ters he rec­og­nizes in a book, he could care less and moves on to some­thing else.

When my book ar­rived, I wanted Mr. Carter to be the first to see it. Know­ing he wouldn’t mirac­u­lously love books all of a sud­den, I handed it to him any­way and ex­plained that this was Mommy’s book. His re­sponse? My son im­me­di­ately threw it on the floor and wanted to go out­side and hunt for rocks. So much for a cel­e­bra­tory re­cep­tion.

Our first of­fi­cial book sign­ing took place at Ur­ban Cot­tage in Vir­ginia-High­lands and I wanted to make sure my son was there with me. I re­cruited Katie Jo’s mom and brother to come help since I not only had to sign books, but was in charge of do­ing the ac­tual read­ing as well. The place was packed and Mr. Carter en­joyed see­ing other kids and run­ning around be­tween fam­ily mem­bers, and I as­sumed he would be con­tent to sit with his grand­mother when I con­ducted the read­ing. I sat on a couch that faced all the at­ten­tive chil­dren and was about to be­gin when Mr. Carter snaked his way through the crowd to sit next to me.

I was hon­est and warned those in at­ten­dance that my son was not yet a fan of the book, or of any books for that mat­ter, and that I had no idea how this would go with him as my part­ner. I didn’t make it to the sec­ond page be­fore he tried to wran­gle the book from my hands and kept re­peat­ing, “no book.” A nice comic re­lief, I chose to stand in­stead and was able to fin­ish the read­ing be­fore Mr. Carter was able to sab­o­tage my ef­forts.

Mr. Carter is my fa­vorite thing in this world, and I hope there is a day when he can look at some­thing I do in­de­pen­dent of him and be proud of me as a hu­man, not just as his mom. But that day is not now.

Since he is too young to un­der­stand what my book means, I have sim­ply torn a page from my copy and framed it in his room. Maybe some­day he’ll ask what it is and I can ex­plain how it all hap­pened to an in­ter­ested boy.

Melissa Carter is rec­og­nized as one of the first out ra­dio per­son­al­i­ties in At­lanta and has been heard over the years on B98.5 and Q100. In ad­di­tion, she is a writer for the Huff­in­g­ton Post. Fol­low her on Twit­ter @ Melis­saCarter.

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