We all stood there in a little bit of awe and disbelief and maybe a tiny bit of horror as we watched the small child read (from notebook paper, not a giant cue card) in Spanish to a group of 75 adults. We were at a family event at the Spanish preschool where our kids go.
We had watched the class of 2-year olds act out a book-related skit for (what felt like) an hour; we had watched the class of 3-year olds sing a (perfectly timed) 1-minute song and then our socks were knocked off with the class of 4-year olds’ skit, including an adorable little boy reading to the room. In Spanish. And then he read in the dark. He was not reading simple phrases like, “Hola. Comment estas?” He was reading sentences and sentences BEAUTIFULLY. The cranky Spaniard next to me commented that the kid’s Spanish was great and another friend wryly noted that he read better than she could, and she’s 42.
Of course, I couldn’t have been the only one in the room wondering, “What kind of genius is he?” And if I’m being honest, my next thought was, “How’d I get such a dummy?” Because my 5-year old could more likely vomit on command than speak in front of a room of strangers, much less READ in front of a room.
“I’m sure it’s like those little boys in the Little League World Series with questionable birth certificates,” I joked to the parents we were standing with. “He’s probably ten years old – they put in a ringer to help lure prospective students…” See, I was testing the waters. I sought a sign from them that THEIR kids weren’t brainiac early readers because mine isn’t either. Isn’t that sad? He’s five and I was instantly worried about him keeping up with everybody.
I take spin class at the gym. I am more competitive than I like to admit and spinning is a perfect outlet for that. The tan, skinny lady on the bike next to me might look better in low-slung jeans but I can chase her down and beat her on whatever imaginary hill I am riding. And no one ever has to know we’re racing.
I think I might need to add more spinning to my week –certainly, to keep me out of mom jeans, but more importantly, to keep me from adding competition to my kids’ lives. They’ll add that soon enough on their own.
(Incidentally, I did a little research: kids begin reading at all different ages, with the range being 3 – 7, for the most part. Yes, 3 or 4 is early. But as we know, all kids are different.)