My Kid Can Read and Now My Life Is Ruined

BlogHer Original Post

We have a new “issue” in our house that has me rethinking every written word we’ve ever come across. Something recently clicked in our five-year-old son’s head and he can read. Anything. Exciting, right? It is! I love when he reads to me from his books. I think it’s adorable when he reads to his brother. So what’s the problem?

He can read. Anything.

While we were camping this past week, I was stretched out reading on my new Kindle. He looked over my shoulder, unbeknownst to me, and started reading. Thankfully he started reading some aloud and I realized it before I clicked to the next page -- one that had some choice words. Later that same day, I was working on some stuff here on BlogHer when he was suddenly reading over my shoulder. I did a quick scan of the page to make sure I wasn’t going to have to make up something to explain what a MILF was; thankfully it was a safe page!

Today he read the grocery list my husband had made and left sitting on the table. As our son read this list, I exchanged a look with my husband.

Our lives are ruined. All because our kid can read. Here’s why: I’m funny. Hilarious even. And after the grocery list is completed but before my husband goes shopping (why, yes, he does the grocery shopping!), I have a humorous history of writing risque things on the list. “Sex” is a repeat offender. Boobs, lots of sex and ass have all made it on the list as well, including some others that are less than appropriate than those just in case my mother-in-law reads this piece.

It’s not just reserved for the grocery list. We have written our fun-loving sexy jokes on the marker board on the fridge, passed them on church bulletins (with no cuss words, of course) and generally shared more than our fair share of sexy notes over the years. Granted, we can still share some privately, but leaving them on the fridge just added to the playful vibe. Alas, our children have forced another transition upon us. The things you don’t know to think about before you are in the thick of parenting.

Creature of the Night

Aside from sexy notes we now must keep to ourselves, this whole “child of reading ability” means that I’m going to have to explain a lot of things. You know your knee-slapper of a bumper sticker? The one that reads “It's only kinky the first time.” Or the ones that get uber-political about abortion or gun control or what have you. And how about signs? Like the ones for Southern X-Posure! Or the one along the route to our vacation that just said “GIRLS!” with an arrow. And then there’s the graffiti work by disgruntled artists that are of the colorful word variety. Or the magazine in line at the grocery store that gives “tips on pleasing your man.” The list goes on and on.

Who knew a reading child would make me so anxious?

Okay, I’m not really anxious. I’m deeply pleased, of course. But it has made me sit up and take notice of all the words around us, that have been around us everyday for years, but we just didn’t notice. As we were working on reading skills over the past year, I kept thinking how crazy the English language is with all of its rules and non-rules and rule breaking and general phonetic mayhem. Now that he’s understanding all of that nonsense, I’m learning again that language -- any language -- is big. As an adult, I’m used to it. I understand most of it. I’m not shocked by learning that the GIRLS! sign isn’t one for a women’s restroom. I’m realizing that this long-awaited reading thing marks the true end of the protective bubble that I’d love to leave my kids in for all eternity. He’s about to embark on his own life-learning journey, whether I’m ready or not. If I thought he asked a lot of questions before, I'm sure that I haven't seen anything yet!

Here we go!

Did you have similar issues when your children started reading? How do you handle inappropriate bumper stickers, signs for adult related stuff or general above-their-current-level-of-understanding words and concepts?

Family Section Editor Jenna Hatfield (@FireMom) blogs at Stop, Drop and Blog and The Chronicles of Munchkin Land. She is a freelance writer and photographer.

Photo Credit: jurvetson.

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