Melissa Carter

Melissa Carter: Mr. Carter the book critic

The children in your life want you to be proud of their accomplishments, but isn’t the opposite true too? Don’t you want them to be proud of your accomplishments as well? Of course, but I am learning there is an age restriction on that expectation, since Mr. Carter is a little young to care what Mom does in her life just yet.

A few months ago, I released a children’s book with two other authors called “Whale of An Idea.” The year-long project is geared toward toddlers like my son and is the story of a whale who discovers what ideas can do and that the size of the thinker does not determine or limit the size of the idea.

Mr. Carter isn’t much of a reader just yet. He is a guy who likes to participate in interactive play, so sitting still while Mom reads him a story is not his idea of fun. I think since he doesn’t understand what on the page I seem so interested in, he gets frustrated and would rather play with cars or laugh at a cartoon with me. Even though I have tried to point out letters he recognizes in a book, he could care less and moves on to something else.

When my book arrived, I wanted Mr. Carter to be the first to see it. Knowing he wouldn’t miraculously love books all of a sudden, I handed it to him anyway and explained that this was Mommy’s book. His response? My son immediately threw it on the floor and wanted to go outside and hunt for rocks. So much for a celebratory reception.

Our first official book signing took place at Urban Cottage in Virginia-Highlands and I wanted to make sure my son was there with me. I recruited Katie Jo’s mom and brother to come help since I not only had to sign books, but was in charge of doing the actual reading as well. The place was packed and Mr. Carter enjoyed seeing other kids and running around between family members, and I assumed he would be content to sit with his grandmother when I conducted the reading. I sat on a couch that faced all the attentive children and was about to begin when Mr. Carter snaked his way through the crowd to sit next to me.

I was honest and warned those in attendance that my son was not yet a fan of the book, or of any books for that matter, and that I had no idea how this would go with him as my partner. I didn’t make it to the second page before he tried to wrangle the book from my hands and kept repeating, “no book.” A nice comic relief, I chose to stand instead and was able to finish the reading before Mr. Carter was able to sabotage my efforts.

Mr. Carter is my favorite thing in this world, and I hope there is a day when he can look at something I do independent of him and be proud of me as a human, not just as his mom. But that day is not now.

Since he is too young to understand what my book means, I have simply torn a page from my copy and framed it in his room. Maybe someday he’ll ask what it is and I can explain how it all happened to an interested boy.

Melissa Carter is recognized as one of the first out radio personalities in Atlanta and has been heard over the years on B98.5 and Q100. In addition, she is a writer for the Huffington Post. Follow her on Twitter @MelissaCarter.