Eager to get Jack interested in chapter books, I have been reading him Charolotte’s Web Although I’ve never read the book myself I thought I knew generally what the story was about: a sweet little pig named Wilbur, his adventures with his barnyard friends and a little girl named Fern. I was elated when Jack fell in love with the story after only a chapter or two and began asking for it before bed.
Tonight we had the good fortune of turning on the television just in time to see that Charlotte’s Web was just starting. My daughter, sick, was in my lap and my son was at the end of the couch grinning from ear to ear revelling in his good fortune. Julia Roberts’ voice rang out from the speakers, the voice of Charlotte, while the animals provided witty banter that kept all of us smiling.
Lily at one point hoisted herself up when she saw the horse and said ‘me no ride horse. No ride cow either’. I was so impressed with her words that I wrote them down for our next speech appointment and fell in love with Wilbur and his friends for motivating my wee girl to talk. I signed ‘sheep’ for Lily as she excitedly pointed them out, her favorite animal-of-the-moment from her current bedtime storybook. We signed friend, spider, pig, dirty and a few others. As Lily laid there, lethargic, her little hands were still able to tell me what she was looking at. I loved the movie – chuckling out loud when the crows screeched ‘abort! abort!’ as the scarecrow turned to face them.
Jackson fell off to sleep about halfway through the movie and Lily meandered in and out of a fever induced slumber. I continued to watch enjoying the movie and not wanting to disturb either of them until they were in a deep enough sleep to be moved without waking them.
Then everything changed. I stared at the screen in disbelief. Dying? Charlotte was dying? How could someone not have filled me in on this tiny little detail? My daughter, apparently wakened by the change in my breathing as I tried to stifle my tears, turned to me and before falling back asleep said ‘mommy’ and signed ‘cry’.
As I watched little Wilbur put the spider pod in his mouth to take back to the barn I swore there and then that I would never kill another spider. A complete lie but I know I’ll feel horrible now every time I do it.