The Loh Life is writer/performer Sandra Tsing Loh's weekly take on life, family, and pop culture in early 21st century Southern California.
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Kindling: Kids and Kindle -- part 2

Sandra Tsing Loh let her daughter borrow her Kindle.

So I’ve been describing how I joined the 21st century, and got a Kindle.

The first hurdle was surviving a plane flight without being able to turn it off-- All it would agree to do was "going to sleep"-- So I frantically STUFFED the Kindle under an airplane pillow and an airplane blanket, trying to actually SUFFOCATE its rogue electrical. . . literary. . . signal-- And I guess it worked because the plane FLEW--

Anyway, having survived that potential DISASTER, I was EMBOLDENED to attempt a new potential disaster, aka lending the Kindle to my KIDS.

My daughters’ reading habits are pricey. And we’re not talking Harry Potter--if only they would get INTO Harry Potter! Used volumes are everywhere at flea markets, heavy as doorstops! Harry Potter is like the Costco KIRKLAND brand of children’s literature. Great QUALITY, more volume for the dollar!

But no. My girls. . . have boutique tastes. Roald Dahl--none of the ones they HAVEN’T read are used. So you go to the BOOKSTORE to buy RETAIL and--ouch! One ends up buying seven dollar PAPERBACKS that an eight year old can consume in an hour. I remember when Suzy got into the Flat Stanley series? Right! Flat Stanley? Flat book! Good LORD-- Even if she earned minimum WAGE working at MacDonald’s-- And read the book THERE-- Perhaps THEN I would break EVEN-- Although of course my younger daughter’s eyebrows would get singed with fry oil because she wasn’t paying ATTENTION--

We are regular HABITUES of the public library, of course, but girls have gotten to the age where all the new stuff they want is OUT. THEN the nurturing and enabling children’s librarian turns them on to all these OLD or EXOTIC series, they get re-enthused, take 11 books each home-- But now we lose them, we’re into library fees--

So now IMAGINE the moment when my 10 year old ACCEPTS my Kindle, STARES at it, then in ONE CLICK downloads the obscure Japanese anime book or whatever she was jonesing for. . . RIGHT OUT OF THE SKY! She looks up at me with preteen wonder! Oh joy! I am a pretty impressive, fantastic mother.

I can’t describe just how SMUG I felt as a parent--that lone, first, beautiful DAY--when I’d glance into my 10 year old’s bedroom and see her lounging. . . Not with a remote control or Nintendo DS. . . But with her Kindle, READING.

I’d try to introduce it, in phone conversation, with other parents. "Ha, sure, summer will be a breeze-- Did I mention I can’t get Maddy off her KINDLE? ADDICTED TO READING, my daughter is!"
But now comes Day Two. Maddy pads downstairs. "What are these across the Kindle?" she asks curiously. "Stripes?"

Next week: We Broke the Kindle.