Last night she was reading her school book (a Biff, Chip, and Kipper* extravaganza with small but important cameo appearances from Floppy) and Keiki was bibbling around her bed, impatiently waiting for his story to be read. He’d picked out The Bad-Tempered Ladybird, which is his current favourite. Once Humuhumu had finished, he plonked himself in my lap - I sit between their beds during story time - and opened the book.
I asked him if he wanted me to read it. Normally he says yes, but that night he said, “Mummy, I want to read it.” I expected him to get a couple of pages in and then yield up the book. Nope. He did the whole thing (from memory; I don’t think he can read the words yet). The Bad-Tempered Ladybird is not a short book. Yes, it’s a picture book, but the bad-tempered ladybird flies along, running into creatures of increasing size and asking if they want to fight. There’s a fair bit of repetition in the dialogue (e.g. “Hey you! Want to fight?...Oh, you’re not big enough”) so I wasn’t too surprised that Keiki could do those bits. I was astonished, though, that he remembered what each of the different animals did to warn off the ladybird. The praying mantis reaches out its long front legs. The sparrow opens its sharp beak. The lobster stretches its claws. The skunk lifts its tail. And so on. He knew all eleven of them, including the whale.
It feels like this cognitive leap was very sudden. He does sometimes recite passages along with me when I’m reading books, but this is the first time he’s tried to read a book to Humuhumu and me of his own volition. It felt like a big milestone.
* Non-UK friends: These are all children’s names. Floppy is the only one that’s a dog. Yeah, I know. o.O
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