The Jillian has finally learned to read. By that, I mean she can read actual books, by herself, TO HERSELF (that last is v. important). She's able to follow a more complex storyline and characterization, which means there are literally HUNDREDS, if not thousands of books I want to throw at her, like NOW.
This was a bit more of a struggle than I would have liked. It took awhile for her to get past the fact that this wasn't something she was instantly good at and maybe had to work at a little bit.
[I wonder where that comes from]
While she learned the alphabet and was able to recognize words and sentences fairly early on, it really took awhile for her to get stuck in the books. It was frustrating to watch, since the number of things I would RATHER do than read a book is exactly zero. 99% of the time, I am reading a book as well as doing at least two other things. I read all the time. So for her to NOT be a bookworm was very strange to me and I had no idea what to do with that.
For about a year, we thought she might be sporty, instead. So we signed her up for soccer and dance and gymnastics and swimming. That year taught us a lot. Namely: the child, she is not going to be a jock. She seems to enjoy gymnastics and we really ought to sign her up for some dance lessons, but beyond the requirement that she learn how to swim, she's probably not going to be a sporto. And that's fine. Maybe she'll find something later on, like fencing or juggling or something.
Then art took over our lives. I cannot tell you how many reams of paper we have gone through in this house. We have a craft bucket that is basically 23 pounds of crayons in various stages of brokenness. There are markers everywhere (and thank goodness for washable markers, amirite?). There has been discussion about fashion and wanting to learn to sew and make her own clothes. There is plenty of time to explore that.
Enter Captain Underpants. I think I can lay the blame at the doors of the book fair, because I gave the kid some money and that's what she chose. I'm not at all opposed to Captain Underpants, though. In fact, it's quite the opposite. You see, when I was in 8th grade (I think), Dav Pilkey visited our school and gave a talk. I don’t remember much about what he actually said, but I do remember him drawing Captain Underpants for us. There was a breakout session later on for a handful of select students, and I do remember him telling me “just write. Even if it’s bad. Keep writing.” It stuck because he was a young guy, not a “grown-up” telling us these things. He wasn’t that far from being one of us!
That was 25 years ago and I am still doing that, so… thanks Dav!
Anyway, Captain Underpants entered our lives and suddenly, the child was reading. ALL THE TIME. We even got to the point where I had to physically take the book away from her and send her outside because she was getting all pale and sickly-looking. My proudest parenting moment so far was the night I went in to check on her before going to bed and I found her asleep and drooling on her book, flashlight in hand.
Finally, something clicked with her and she started reading everything she could get her hands on. It took some time for us to explain to her the more or less linear progression of story in most books, but now that she’s figured that out, she is plowing through everything. We love the library and will likely spend a great deal of time there this summer.
Personally, I am extremely excited that she will get to read All The Books that I read and loved when I was her age. She gets to read them all for the first time, and I am SO JEALOUS of that. I have started a list, that has Ramona Quimby at the top and I can’t wait for her to discover all the characters and stories that I grew up with. There are so many books I wish I could read again for the first time.