I don't mean to be a pushover.
Really I don't. I believe in discipline, and good manners, and all that sort of thing. I think kids can get stressed out if they never hear "no," if they don't get a sense of what the limits are.
But the thing is, just because I believe and even know what I think is right, doesn't mean I'm able to do it all the time. In my mind is some sort of paragon, a cross between Ma of Little House on the Prarie and the father in Peace Like a River and the uncles in Jim the Boy (which for some reason won't accept the link: it's this)—except without any beating the kids or being a prophet/visionary Christian or being a farmer part of it. So far, I haven't had so much success with this. But at least I have aspirations.
But my aspirations toward kind, calm, firmness go right by the wayside when it comes to reading. And it's beginning to concern me. A little bit, anyways.
I got to thinking about this the other night, when I saw this:
See that little "N" on the upper right-hand corner? That's what made me tell Chestnut, "Oh look, it's a school book, we have to return it tomorrow."
"No it's not," she said.
"Yeah, it is, see, it's got a level thing." I pointed helpfully at the N.
She smiled, part sheepish, part dastardly. "I just put that there so I could read it during homework time and you would think I was reading school stuff." I gave her a look. She had the good grace to look abashed. But not very abashed. "I only did a couple of times though, really. Just a few."
Then there are the countless, countless, COUNTLESS times I have found Diana at extremely late hours closed up in the bathroom with one book or another, reading on the bathroom floor. Have I run her back to bed? Sure. Have I ever gotten really mad, like I would if she had been holed up there with her DS? Not at all.
Why is that? Is reading that angelic that it somehow nullifies all strictness? Where are the limits? Where's the righteous indignation?
I don't know. It's only lately that I've sort of noticed my double standard, my feeling that if you do something where you end up reading, I just won't come down too hard on you. I've been wondering, since I noticed it, if it's a problem.
But it can't really be bad, at least I don't think it can. I don't think it's possible for something so great to be harmful (though that's probably what people think about butter and cream too, I guess).
Diana took a book into her bed for the first time when she was just two. She asked us for a flashlight, and then she took something ridiculous and lovely in there, either The Roly Poly Pudding or Anatole, I can't quite remember, and curled up in her new big girl bed, turning the pages and studying them. I don't think she could really read yet, but she was so totally happy. And her dad and I just sort of watched her with this ridiculous fondness, like "Oh look, she's going to be one of us."
If this is what wrong feels like, I don't want to right (with apologies to whatever song that line actually comes from).