You know how every mom in the world thinks that their kid is "gifted"... even the ones who clearly aren't? If you don't have kids, here's a little insight into why all moms (and many dads) think their child is the next Einstein.
We watch them grow from helpless little lumps of people into fully functional human beings. We watch them transform before our very eyes, learning to hold up their heads, roll over, hold a bottle, crawl, walk, talk, run, recite colors and animals, identify letters, read books, and eventually, become the next President of the United States. Well, most of us don't observe that last one. But when you watch a child grow, observe their limitations, and then watch them gain new abilities that were far from reach not so long ago, it's impossible not to marvel a bit.
My latest experience is watching Flik read. He has been a pretty good reader for a while now. He learned the basic sight words a couple years ago, so he could read THE, AN, IN, ON, HAVE, etc.while we were reading books together. He has been able to put together basic CVC words (that's constant-vowel-constant for you non-preschooler-parents) for at least a year; words like CAT and SIT and MOM. He then learned what happens when you stick an "e" at the end of a word, and so added words like TIME and SAME. And so it progressed and every step along the way, I watch in amazement. This kid can actually read now. How did this happen?
Two weeks ago he chose two books for me to read to him at bedtime. The second was I'll Teach my Dog 100 Words. I try to make sure that bedtime reading is always just for fun, so I rarely make him read along if he's not interested. So I commented before I began that maybe the next day he could see how much of it he could read on his own. I knew he could probably read the entire thing, but wasn't going to press him on it. But at that moment, the idea of reading a whole book on his own appealed to him and he decided to give it a try. What do you know, he read the whole thing. (Bedtime took quite a bit longer than I had intended though.)
Last week, he chose two books, one of which was Green Eggs and Ham. This is a long book when I read it, but he wanted to read it himself. Not wanting to quash his excitement, I let him read the whole thing. It took forever. The next night he selected One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, another exhaustingly long book when read by a grown-up, and again he wanted to read it. Clearly, reading had progressed from party trick we show off to the grandparents to bedtime delay tactic. (Told you. He's clever, my kid.)
Tonight, as I write, bedtime has been over for 40 minutes now, but the kid is allowed to read in bed if he's not tired. This used to mean he'd turn on his flashlight and look at the pictures of his favorite books. Tonight, as I sit in my bed across the hall from his room, I hear this:
"At our house we play out back. We play a game called ring the gack...."
He's reading One Fish Two Fish.... I've listened as he's read the entire book without my being there to help him. I'm simply enamored by him. Oh, and clearly, my kid's a genius.