We have countless hundreds of books in our house, and while they’re not all wee-lad level high, a good number of them are. Still, my li’l critter gravitates toward P. Roth. This strikes me as just a little curious. I’ve read any number of Roth passages aloud to my boy. He crinkles his nose, profoundly unimpressed, and grabs my ears and lips, or pulls faces at me, or points at mom’s Blackberry and jabbers like the lovely little non-reader and non-word user that he is. Of course, you’ve already guessed what’s taken me a 2.3 scientific experiments to confirm. He likes the colors, the pleasantly warm and delightfully cool primary colors, my boy does. Like a bumblebee, he bumps up against them, all those inviting reds, oranges, and browns, those grays, purples, and blues. He explores with his fingers and mouth the pages of Roth with indelicate curiosity. He slobbers all over them, and not because he’s hungry. I have to remind myself that li’l critters gather pollen in mysterious ways, so that if I were to bark at him or whisk him off the floor away from his mischief, sweet and innocent as it is, that would of course be the one damn thing he, inexplicably, most remembers later in life.
I bite my tongue, I do—and sweat a little.
Postscript. Speaking of slobber stains, I heartily recommend the book that’s in my son’s hands. Secrets will out, out, themselves, and not entirely unlike Frost’s poem. A very good Roth read.