I've been on a documentary bender for the past couple of weeks, spurred no doubt by a self-preservation instinct to save my brain from its mushy mom-of-newborn state. It's kind of wondrous I can even type, since reading a book is impossible.
So far, I've watched The Overnighters (about a controversial pastor in North Dakota who shelters men seeking work in the oil fields), Terror at the Mall (about the 2013 terrorist attack in Nairobi), Life Itself (about film critic Roger Ebert) and Page One: Inside The New York Times. Max sat with me as the New York Times film started, fascinated by the workings of a printing press. He loves all things New York City, and was excited to know the paper is written there.
For his weekly current events, Max decided he'd read an article in The New York Times. That seriously excited me. Not just because it was the NYT, but because for years Max had refused to check anything but the online sites Tween Tribune and Dogonews for articles.
Max's curiosity is blooming. "What's that?" he wants to know. "Where are we?" he asks and "Why?" and "What are we doing this weekend?" It's so heartening to hear these questions, because it's a key sign of cognitive development. And the more open his mind gets, the more he'll soak in.
I figured we should find something in the newspaper that appeals to Max's interest, so I suggested the food section since lately Max is either eating or planning what he'll eat next. "Yeah!" he said, taking a liking to the Food section sight unseen.
So we browsed the paper and found an article about how David's Cookie founder David Liederman had, years ago, cut a hole in a butcher block island that emptied into a trash bin below so he could easily dump scraps into it while cooking. His friend Bruce Paltrow (as in, Gwyneth's dad) dubbed it the "David Hole" and it caught on.
Max thought it was kind of cool. Although for the question "What did you think?" he wrote "I think it will smell bad."
Later I asked, "So, do you like The New York Times?"
"NO!" he said, resoundingly.
And I thought back to my days in middle school when I had to choose articles from The New York Times for current events. I didn't much like the paper back then, either.
Really, it was a perfectly normal response.