We have in our midst someone with a great power who isn’t yet capable of understanding that with great power comes great responsibility (Thanks Uncle Ben!).
The “we” I speak of is Kim and I, of course, and the great power is that revered and dangerous power: the power to read.
Katy, who will be seven this Saturday (ZOMG!), was always intrigued by reading. And then something happened. Something exploded in her cranium, and what should have developed at a steady pace over the course of the next year or so exploded into full maturity before she was ready for it.
She discovered she could read.
And the more she read, the more she could read, and the more she could read, the more she read. You begin to see where this cyclic parasitic infection could be problematic, no? On the one hand, our darling is capable of reading anything you set before her, and cognizant enough to know that if she doesn’t know or understand a word, to look it up in the dictionary or worst case, ask Mom and/or Dad.
The problem, you see, is she doesn’t understand that there are boundaries to what she should read. She doesn’t understand how to keep her super powers in check. She doesn’t understand that being able to read something doesn’t mean she should read something. She is capable of picking up one of Mom or Dad’s books and reading them (and there are certainly plenty around the house, with five full book cases and random piles here and there), but not necessarily of comprehending them. She’s just not old enough, but doesn’t understand that having the power to do something doesn’t mean she needs to.
Perhaps more dangerous, though, is that she is so enthralled with her new power, she doesn’t know how to respect privacy yet. You or I, being mature(ish) adults, know there are certain boundaries you don’t casually cross. You don’t look over someone’s shoulder to read their email with them; you don’t crane to see what they’re typing in a chat window. You understand that there are personal space boundaries. But she has this power ahead of her time and hasn’t yet learned about these boundaries. And you know what? They’re damn hard to explain to someone just turning seven, as it turns out.
And so our immature superhero dilemma – an individual with the power to read at a third or fourth grade level, but without the maturity to understand where to refrain from exercising it.
And in case you were wondering, yes, she has begun to write. Precious short stories inspired by her favorite TV shows (Word Girl in particular), I’m fully prepared for her to publish ahead of me (because let’s face it, I write for fun more than anything else…well…yeah…).
And that, folks, is the first post of 2009!