Tuesday, April 14, 2015

N is for Naughty

Who is one of the naughtiest rabbits you've heard of, aside from Little Bunny Foo Foo?  My nominee is Peter.  In Beatrix Potter’s book Peter is called naughty: “But Peter who was very naughty, ran straight away to Mr. McGregor’s garden, and squeezed under the gate.”

Back in the late 1990’s my mother suffered from a stroke so severe that she could not talk, walk or do anything to help herself.  I spent much of that summer with her being her manager, re-teaching her language through the use of children’s books (much to the dismay of her speech therapist who said I should be using adult books).  Mom’s work from the time I was in jr. high was in libraries with children.  That’s also what I was doing at the time.  I told the therapist this and he begrudgingly allowed me to continue – not that I wouldn't have continued without his “blessing.”

Enter Peter Rabbit.  A small enough book that we had to sit close together in order to see and talk about the pictures.  And the magic moment when I read, “But Peter who was very naughty, ran straight away to Mr. McGregor’s garden, and squeezed under the gate.” and Mom said, “Naughty Rabbit!”  I was as joyful as a mother listening to her child’s first real words.  Naughty as Peter was, he had given my mother back her ability to talk.  After that breakthrough, we talked about the books and the pictures. 

Never underestimate the power of a Naughty Rabbit.


Susan Marie said...

This is brilliant. I hope if I ever have a stroke that people read me my favorite "children's" books, no matter what my age.

Stories by Julie said...

Right Susan Marie! I couldn't believe the speech therapist wanted me to read stuffy old adult books to my mom and I certainly wasn't going to read the kinds of novels she read to her - I got embarrassed when she lent them to me (all those steamy sex scenes that parents aren't supposed to be into). Besides what kind of conversational interaction can you get with stuffy adult books if the person you are reading to does not have the vocabulary to discuss them adequately?

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