Wednesday, May 16, 2007
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".