#52. Ramona and Her Mother: if you’re missing your Mom, says me, Isabel Scheherazade, read this Beverly Cleary book again. It’s beautiful and—can I say this in my title?—ordinary. Beautifully ordinary. Sigh.

by storytellerisabel

Ramona and Her Mother: If you’re missing your mom, read this Beverly Cleary book again. It’s beautiful and ordinary. Beautifully ordinary. (I used to wonder what the country song lyrics meant when they sang about “yearning”; I get it now.) When Oliver and I were searching for more books with mothers for Arturo, I pulled Ramona and Her Mother out of the twins’ read aloud pile. Although we decided it was too long for us to tackle with Arturo, I took a few hours and reread it. I remember Mom reading it to me when I was 7. “I couldn’t get along without my Ramona” was one of Mom’s “make peace” things she’d say to me when I was miffed at her and storming around thinking I must have been adopted. We’d laugh and I’d come in for a hug. I told Oliver about Mom and me and Ramona and Her Mother. He’d never read it and asked to borrow it; he was sheepish about asking. I joked, Don’t worry. I won’t tell anyone Mr Cool is reading Ramona. I think he was thinking about his mother and how she nevernevernever told him she couldn’t get along without her Ramona. Poor Oliver.

Oliver and I ended up reading tons of mother books to Arturo, but today’s read is a Richard Scary book, one of Sam and Clyde’s suggestions. It has lots of little pictures. Me, I don’t like this kind of book much, no real plot. But, Arturo creeps out a little farther from under the desk to find Goldbug, a tiny little gold cricket. He’s a tease. He’s on every page but you need to scrutinize; scrutinizing a Richard Scary cannot be done from waaaay under a first grade desk. Way to go, Goldbug!

Next, Mrs. Stanley (Arturo’s teacher) suggests we fold a few Little Books with Arturo. After the Richard Scary book, he’s retreated but cranes his neck to see what we’re doing.

You can fold one of your own if you get up here, Arturo buddy-boy. Oliver taps his chair seat. 

Guess what? He does it. 

First, he looks at Oliver and me for a whole minute. And then, hurrah! He pulls himself up onto his chair. We get a good look at him.

He’s tiny. Clyde and Sam are maybe twice as tall as he is and they’re a year younger. He has black curly hair and glasses, miniature, round glasses that stay up somehow. It must be the long curvy earpieces because his nose is the stubbiest nose I’ve ever seen. He’s got funny eyebrows. They meet in the middle. He’s a one-eyebrow kid!

Arturo watches Oliver do the first fold. Then he takes a fresh sheet of paper and does it, too. He goes step by step, waiting for him to fold or cut. He is very good at folding for a first grader. I don’t think I could have done this when I was his age.

Later on, at home, after she hears all about the out-from-under-the-desk success, Mimi says, You’re communicating.

I don’t think so, Oliver snorts. He didn’t say a word!

I’m pulling out my homework and he’s getting up from sharing brownies and milk to go home to the farm. Oliver, he had to watch us fold—think about it—and then do it. And remember when he couldn’t do the center fold cut? Remember? He held it up to you and raised his eyebrow?

That was cute: his one big eyebrow. Oliver gives this some thought.  So, hand gestures and eye-brow raising is communication? 

I give him our family’s signature one-eyebrow lift and I settle in to do my math homework. It’s a start.