I love that my kids read.  It's the best.  If there's one thing I could wish for them it's that they read and love it.  They do.  So I hope it's clear that I'm proud of them for this and wouldn't have it any other way. 

That being said...

The Caterpillar only really likes to read aloud to us and that's, well, great too.  In first grade, the teacher made a point of telling the kids they had to read for twenty minutes a day and it would be a good idea to sometimes read aloud to your parents. The Caterpillar has taken that very seriously and never not once in first grade read during those twenty minutes a day to herself, despite my sometimes begging and pleading.  This year, the teacher wants them to read every day but has made no such requirement to read aloud, yet The Caterpillar is completely and totally convinced that she cannot read unless it be aloud, to one of us.  I know this is an attention thing.  She follows us around the house, reading whoknowswhat, it could be the manual for our dishwasher for all I know because truth be told, no one is really listening.  It's just the white noise of the early evening.  She follows me into the kitchen and reads while I make dinner.  She follows me down the stairs and reads while I clean up.  She follows us to the bathroom and reads through the door.  Sometimes she gets stuck on a word and we have to admit that we weren't really listening when we aren't clear from the context what word was going to be because we weren't listening to the context.  That's when I roll out the "well, you're going to have to sound it out, say the syllables slowly" because I am the Smartest Woman Alive or and I can usually catch up with her being none to wiser.  Sometimes we make her read to her sister, who has no more patience for this than we do.  

I know I need to make time for her and listen to her.  I know having communicative kids is good because they are likely to tell me when something goes wrong in their life.  We always have conversation material.  It's less likely a teacher or someone will attempt something inappropriate with them because we all know they're "talkers." But here's the thing: no one in this family is EVER silent.  There is a LOT of talking going on in this house and when they're not talking to me or each other, they're talking to themselves, or, more annoying, just making random noises and none of the noises are quiet ones.  It's hard on my ears.  And my head.  So I need to make time and let The Caterpillar read to me, yes, but sometimes I also need to not hear their voices droning on and on and since this is almost never happening in my house, I often tell her to wait until Daddy gets home and read to him then.

Sorry Daddy.

(But not really.)

This month Caterpillar is reading Charlotte's Web with her class at school.  I remember this book being fairly traumatic when I was her age, because - *spoiler alert* - Charlotte dies at the end.

She has been reading us one chapter at a time for some time and today she read me the last page of the book.

"Wilbur never forgot Charlotte. Although he loved her children and grandchildren dearly, none of the new spiders ever quite took her place in his heart. She was in a class by herself. It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both."

She finished, and I, actually listening for once, said, "Aw, that was a good book right?


"Was it sad?"


"You weren't sad when Charlotte died?"

"No, because I just read the last page.  But I hadn't read the part when Charlotte died yet."

She had skipped ahead to the end and I hadn't noticed.  Woops.

Me: "Oh.  Well, I guess I just spoiled the ending for you.  Sorry."

Caterpillar: "No, I knew Charlotte was going to die."

"Why? Did someone already tell you the ending?"

"No. I knew that Charlotte was going to die because of facts."


"Yeah.  It's a fact that after spiders have babies, they die.  Why would Charlotte be any different?"   

This, from my child who cries at telephone commercials.  Well, done, my pragmatic little one.  Well done.  But just the same, I'm not letting her read Bridge to Teribithia any time soon.