I don't mean to be incredibly self-indulgent here, but.. wait, who am I kidding? This whole weblog is incredibly self-indulgent. Going on...

I was nursing The Caterpillar this morning and watching writer-less talk shows I recorded last night when The Dormouse got up and sat down on the living room couch. She had a Goldilocks and the Three Bears book in her hand. I have no idea where it came from and didn't even know it was in the house before today. She claims a friend gave it to her. At any rate, I have never read this book to her. I have never even told her the Goldilocks story (because... hello? NOT mother of the year over here).

She was sitting on the couch looking through the book for awhile and then came over to my side and announced she had read the book.
I gave her the equivalent of a pat on the head with my condescending, "Good job." Sure you did.

Then she asked me if she could read it to me because "I need help with one or two of the words."

She probably only read the half dozen words she knows and got the rest from the pictures. "OK - in a minute, honey."

Five minutes go by.

"Now, Momma? Can I read the book now?"

"In a little bit, Sweets."

Fifteen more minutes went by and she was still patiently waiting for me to turn off the TV and tell her it was okay for her to read to me. (Like I said, NOT mother of the year.) Finally, I acquiesced and said she could go ahead. She got through a handful of pages when I stopped her.

"Honey, have you ever read this book before?"

"Yes, momma."


"Just now, when I was sitting on the couch, Momma."

"And no one read it to you before?"

"No, Momma. I just found it."

"Honey, can you go back and start again from the beginning and I'll take a video of you reading this book?"

"Okay, Momma!"

She's been making great strides on the reading front lately. Go, Preschool I Previously Thought Was The Only Crappy Alternative I Could Afford. One of the most brilliant gifts my mother gave us was a
Dick and Jane book back when The Dormouse really little. At the time, I had no idea how useful it could be. Most kids' books are for slightly older readers and other than a couple of the Dr. Seuss books, there seems to be no interim between the single word baby books ("shirt", turn page, "pants", turn page, etc.) and a book that has some semblance of a story. I've basically been choosing books that have a word like dog or cat and then having her read that one word, while I read all the rest. Dick and Jane is the closest to a simple reading book with a story I could find so I've been reading that with her occasionally. She's been able to recognize a few sight words and sound out others, and I've helped her through some of the stories which, face it, are just the basics:
See Spot.
See Spot run.
Run, Spot, run.
It's definitely not Tolstoy. I'm just sayin'.

So when The Dormouse got to the phrase
this porridge is just right, she said it (correctly), then stopped and said to me "The H is silent, right?" That's when I realized something else was going on here. So I got out the camera and recorded the following. Here is The Dormouse, reading her very first book by herself:

Tears came to my eyes and I was immediately sorry for being such a bitch. What is wrong with me? If there's one thing I should be able to do as her mother, it's believe in her. Give her the opportunity to practice her skills and show off and feel successful when there's no pressure, no stress. Here I was so interested in the Top Ten List, getting through my morning email before my boss got into the office and getting the baby down to a nap so I could have a minute to myself that I almost missed this. How many other things have I missed before because I was too concerned with unimportant things?

I'm so proud of her.

I'm so ashamed of me.

Maybe next, I'll have her read me a book on parenting.