I was just telling my sister this story and she suggested I make a blog post about it, so I'm going to take her advice. It concerns our daughter, J, who is still age six. She continues to be really adamant about not wanting to learn to read (though I continually "catch" her sounding out words and teaching herself anyway -- she learns best when she's self-taught). However, her semi-illiteracy has yet to really hold her back.
For instance, the other night, J was watching the movie Soul Surfer on DVD before bed for like the 10th consecutive evening or something (she loves, loves, loves that movie) and when I went to go to bed myself, she was there, entranced in the film. When I walked in on her, she immediately announced to me that she wanted to watch it different that time, so she switched the movie language "to one [she] didn't understand." She was watching it in French!
As a homeschooling mom, I was thrilled that she was exploring a foreign language by watching a movie she knows so well it didn't matter if she understood the exact words they were saying. But the thing that was most interesting to me was that somehow, without a working reading ability, she figured out how to go to the main menu to switch the language. It wasn't by accident -- it was a choice she made. Amazing.
Not that she shouldn't learn to read, however.
In fact, last night, I took J and a four-year-old niece into a public restroom at a store and while we were washing hands, J pointed out the big white box hanging from the wall. Ladies, you know the kind. Anyway, she said, "What's that?"
(WARNING: The extremely squeamish readers may want to leave this post now.)
And for whatever reason, it has taken all these years for her to ask that question, but last night was the night.
So I showed her the word on the box and like the teachy-mom I am, I sounded it out with her: TAMPONS.
She practiced reading the word a few times and then said, "But I don't even know what that is."
Being matter of fact like I tend to be on the subject of puberty and birds, bees and whatnot, I said, "That's for ladies when they're having their period."
But of course, she said, "I don't even know what a period is."
As more ladies walked into the ladies room, I decided we could maybe address the subject more thoroughly at home. So I said, "I'd love to talk more about this with you ... maybe we could do that tonight at home."
Then, my niece, proudly piped in, "I know what a period is. L has her period. It gives her lots of pain."
J jealously said, "How come N knows about periods?!"
I told her she knew because of her big sister and the recent household topic it had become over there.
As we exited the bathroom, N whispered again to J, "It gives her lots of pain."
Great, so I was worrying about that introduction and how "the talk" would go with J after her hearing that explanation before my own. It turns out, when I explained a little more about it later, she was relatively unphased by it and skipped off without a care.
I guess I am always scarred from having that talk with my mom as a girl, where I cried and cried and begged to not have to do all that and then asked if I'd still be allowed to carry my Holly Hobbie lunchbox to school -- my mom has reminded me of that story over the years and I feel so blessed to have daughters who weren't as scared to grow up as I was.
Now our sons, on the other hand....