Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Big Question

We had a very relaxed week.  Very relaxed.  A highlight of our day yesterday - no, the highlight of our day - was spending 20 minutes watching the Duckling's beloved lamb go round and round in the washing machine.  They both had fits of the giggles whenever they caught sight of her peeking out at them.

The Monkey spent a lot of time reading this week.  And when I say a lot, I mean he read two chapter books yesterday plus a variety of picture books as well as what we call "learning books" (mostly books about Egypt these days.)  In  one sitting, he read a 100+ page Geronimo Stilton book and at another point during the day, he read the book A Grain of Rice.  Ironically, I worry about his reading because he seems to be reading too fast to absorb the information. But, when I ask him to tell me about the book, he does. And, when he's reading a book like Geronimo Stilton, he is laughing out loud.  I check in with him often and ask him to read me a page from whatever book he's finished.  He seems to read fine but he does skip some occasional words that he isn't able to sound out.  I talked with him about the importance of reading all the words so that he doesn't miss important information.  I gave him the example of when I read Harry Potter and get excited and can't wait to find out what happens. But, if I read too fast and skip parts, I end up missing information and then have to go back and re-read. We'll see if that helps him slow down his reading at all.  Or, maybe it isn't a problem at all and I'm trying to get him to read the way I read, rather than what is his natural reading style.  Oh, there's that de-schooling rearing it's ugly head again.

One of the books he's had in his hands a lot this week is It's So Amazing.  I had read most of it to him before he started reading but we skipped the section on sexual intercourse, as I wanted to wait until he was a bit older.  He knows all the basics already – the egg, the sperm, the body parts, etc., as well as how both he and his sister were conceived with the help of a donor. Well, he read the whole book this week and here's the conversation that followed:

Monkey: Mama, I read that chapter that you had said I wasn't old enough for. Is it okay that I read it?

Mama: Yes, that's okay. Did you have any questions about anything you read?

Monkey: Well, I don't really understand what they meant by the word, um, six?

Mama: Do you mean "sex?" 
feeling nervous again about his reading comprehension

Monkey: Yes, sex. What does that mean?

Mama: It's a way that grown-ups love on each other.  Sometimes, when a man and a woman have sex and love on each other, they make a baby. It doesn't happen every time and there are other ways to make babies.  

Monkey: Oh, okay.

Mama: Do you have any other questions about sex or what you read about?

Monkey: Gets very pensive and lost in his head 
Yes, mama, I have a question.

Mama: My head starts spinning and I get nervous about what question is going to come next and how much detail he'll be asking for. 
Okay, go ahead.

Monkey: Mama, did the Egyptians use anything in between the big stones to help them stick together? Like glue or something?

I was reminded that kids absorb the information they are ready to hear. Exposing them to information about sex or any other topic that we, as adults, consider "difficult" is exactly what they need and we, the adults, need to trust their abilities to absorb and comprehend this information when they are developmentally ready to do so.  I was also reminded that it is better to approach these topics from a general view point and then narrow down the details as necessary and as they request it. 

Okay, I am a little relieved that I didn't have to answer any specific questions.  

He seems to have moved on from the book but it will, of course, remain available to him and to the Duckling. 

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