Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Wild Knowledge

A couple of months ago, as if by magic, a switch was tripped in Z's brain circuitry and he could read. Suddenly, the laborious sessions of sounding out every letter then every syllable; of thinking about what sound every vowel combination might represent were over and whole sentences flowed effortlessly from his eyes to his mouth.

Two months on, it is still a source of wonder that a little brain should be able to do so much in such a short time. All text has become fodder for the reading machine he has in his head: cereal packets at breakfast, books in bed, shop signs in the street, his papa's outsize copy of l'Equipe.

My vicarious sense of accomplishment is nevertheless tinged with a little regret. It is one more milestone passed, one more thing he can do for himself, one more step away from me and the dependent days of cuddly babyhood. Clearly, I can no longer protect him from what Francis Spufford calls "the intensity of a solitary encounter with wild knowledge".


SusieJ said...

This is beautiful. First, congrats on such a wonderful achievement. And, I know what you mean. It is so bittersweet.

beefking said...

BeefKing heving difficulty commenting:

Of course I understand what you mean, but I wonder: is it something about the coziness of reading to your kids, rather than a general fact of development? Did you miss changing nappies when they no longer needed them? Growing up is painful for everyone involved. But the payoff is future adult conversations with adult kids. That's the real prize at the end of the rainbow, I think, and is also hopefully the final stage which they never learn to outgrow.

Lesley said...

Thanks SusieJ.

BeefKing: Sorry commenting has become such an obstacle course. I suppose the regret at the inevitability of children growing up is for a mixture of reasons, all to do with me, not him.

Sarah said...

OK... there appears to be no comment box for the latest entry and so I am forced to add my answers to your art challenge here.

a) is 4
b) is ... hmm ... trickier as I can't google that one ... I'm guessing 5 but I'll come back to it. NO ... I'm going for number 2
c) is 5
d) is 1 (I did think 6 but as 6 is the ONLY one that looks remotely Piccasso-ish I'm changing my mind)
that leaves
e) is 6
f) I think it's the boat - number 3. It looks happy and fun and hopefully it is going to reach the harbour! It strikes me as a perfect metaphor.

Is there a prize?

BTW Well done, Z! Free at last.

deborah said...

I love these sort of quizzes. The bottom right, even so small, reminds me of a Picasso, but the rest are a mystery.

How about :

Number one bought in the Dordogne
No 2 given by your parents for your thesis which makes me want to weep because I remember that day. (however these two could be the other way round and the building might be in Glasgow and not Edinburgh)!
Number 3 Alinéa, a shop I like, but this was left over from my other guesses and Picasso often did daft things too (his tin pram for example)
4 AA
5 Glaswegian friend's offering

PS am also commenting here and will now compare answers with Sarah's