Sunday I was finishing up my story on the state swimming meet at my desk. Around the corner, I heard C. reading a book to S.. It didn’t register at first, but soon I stopped writing and paused to listen closer. C. wasn’t slowly picking out sight words or reading some book for early readers that mixes pictures and words. She was working her way through “The Giving Tree” at a solid pace, hardly slipping up on any words.

Monday night she brought me “Green Eggs and Ham.” We sat on the couch, I held the book and turned pages while she read the entire thing to me.

I would bet money I said the same thing when M. first read to me, but there really is something magical about when your child begins reading on their own. First, there’s that immense feeling of pride that goes both ways. I’m proud of C., as if she unlocked some great mystery that has confounded people for centuries. And you can tell C. is proud of herself. Then there is the way reading changes a kid’s world. I think you can compare it to walking in the way it opens up the world for them. They can find things on their own. They can entertain themselves. They can be independent.

It’s pretty damn cool.

The only downside to C. learning to read and growing up in general is how it causes her and M. to butt heads more often. C. loves to share observations of things at school with M.. It’s clearly her way of showing M. she’s not a baby but an equal. And M. likes to immediately correct C. on whatever she thinks C. has wrong with her assessments. Which C. responds to by ‘expanding’ her story so she creates details she thinks M. doesn’t know. But M. always finds a way to add her knowledge. And so on.

Example: this morning, at breakfast, they spent 10 minutes arguing about all the different kinds of pencil sharpeners they’ve seen at school. The ones on teachers’ desks, attached to the wall in the art room, that some people keep in their desks, etc. It was an endless loop of trying to one-up each other with knowledge and observations. I’m sure this is going to be a lot of fun when they hit high school.

The girls were playing over the weekend and their game drifted into the room where S. and I were sitting. They were adopting dogs from the shelter or something, and M. piped up with “Be sure to go to to register your dog when you get home.” It’s always fun when they take something they’ve heard on TV and incorporate it into their play. I’m just glad they aren’t ‘smoking’ candy cigarettes like I did when I was a kid. What were our parents thinking?

Finally, I’m not sure what’s going on here, but for some reason C. keeps hanging one of her stuffed dogs from the upstairs landing. I hope she didn’t register this one, otherwise the dog police are going to be paying her a visit.