Remember when your kids were babies, and right before a huge developmental leap, like walking or something, they would get really fussy or change their routine or something would be different?
Emma has been weird lately. Well, not exactly weird, but just ON all the time. More hyper, more talking, just non-stop. Everything has been more intense for her. And the words – just exploding her vocabulary. Concepts are connecting in her head at an astonishing rate. There is an almost constant and never-ending stream of thoughts escaping her mouth.
We knew something was on the horizon for her, and we figured we knew what it was. All we had to do was keep doing what we were doing, and wait.
Last night, stories were read, bedtime routine underway, and I was still trying to wrestle her down. She wanted Daddy, then a minute after he got there, she wanted Addison, or found a toy or something. Finally, we get her to lie in my bed with me. I’m reading my book, I tell her. You get a book and you lay next to me and you read your book.
Any previous suggestions of this nature are met with a, “But I can’t read it, you have to read it to me,” Not this time. This time, she hopped up and went off to grab a small pile of easy reader books we had found earlier. She steals my side of the bed, my pillows, and I’ve managed to read a half a page in my own book. Twice.
She looks at the cover, at the tile. “Dora,” she says, “Dora’s Picnic.” She points at each letter, saying them out loud. I tell her it is called spelling. We get past the intro. She scrunches her eyebrows, “Hey! I can read this! This is exciting!” She turns the page.
She stumbles at some words, guesses at others, and makes up sentences based on the pictures a couple times. But I start to notice how she is self-correcting, looking at the words and thinking to herself, “that’s not quite right,” and reading it again. I show her how to guide her reading with her finger, left to right, top to bottom. Halfway through, she gets tired, wanting me to do it. “I’ll do the words you don’t know yet,” I tell her. My finger guides our reading as Dora and her friends get food for their picnic. “Swiper no swiping!” Emma reads easily.
She reads the last page all by herself. “The end!” she adds. I’d say it was just beginning.