learning more about things

all partied out

driving to school the other day discussing her shoes, i sounded like an Official Mom and said "you know eva, when i was your age, they didn't even have velcro on shoes. can you believe that?" this lead to a discussion of other things they did or did not have when i was a kid. she asked:

yes, we had cars, but they didn't have cars when my grandma eva was a kid.
yup. paper is actually really old. like more than a thousand years old!

"but you know what we didn't have? the internet. there was no internet when i was a kid."
"what?! no internet? but then how did you learn more about things?"
"that's a good question, eva. i don't know, i can hardly remember how we did that..."

and honestly, it is all pretty vague. how *did* we learn more about things before the internet? i remember a world with these things called "phone books", which much to my annoyance *still* up on my front step every spring. and i have fuzzy memories of a school trip the library -- the nearest one was 45 minutes away -- so i could use a "card catalogue" (eh?) to find books about laura ingalls wilder for my 4th grade research report.

i'm all for limiting media for young children, but i see little benefit in being dogmatic about it. (that said, i have little patience for dogmatism in general, as it often belies a lack of critical thought and is almost never helpful to one's cause.) opinions vary, but for me, i have no problem using appropriate media to facilitate her desire to investigate a topic of interest. computer, TV, whatever... to me, the content is far more at issue than the particular medium (just because it's in video form doesn't mean it's garbage, and just because it's printed in a book for children doesn't mean it's quality material.) but i digress...

earlier today, we finished reading "clementine", a "young reader" type book (10 chapters, 160 pages of largish font, some pictures, you remember the type) about a precocious eight-year-old girl who tends to find a lot of trouble despite her best intentions. eva loved it -- no surprise, since she is currently *obsessed* with how amazing life will be once she's eight years old. in fact, we were going to save the last chapter for our coffee shop date later that afternoon, but then she decided "just one more page", then maybe one more, and then i just read to the end. i was an avid (obsessive?) reader as a kid (flashlight under the covers on a school night type of thing), and it makes me so happy to see her learning the excitement of sinking into a long story, wanting to know what happens but at the same time, not wanting it to end.

so after the last page she said, "is that the end? is there any more?" i told her i didn't know if there were other books about clementine or not, but that we could find out. i brought up google, and told her she could type the author's name so we could search on the internet. i know she's a fan of copying down words by typing them -- various times recently i have returned to my email to find it says "caps lock" or "backspace", which she carefully copied from the keyboard itself. she carefully typed "s-a-r-a p-e-n-n-y-p-a-c-k-e-r" and hit enter. up popped the author's website, with a familiar picture of clementine right there! one more click and we saw cover images for *two* other clementine books. i navigated us over to the city library site, and we found that one of them is on the shelves at our local branch. yea! she's very excited. we'll have to pick it up next week for extra entertainment when larry's out of town.

i don't really have a grand point here, but yea internet, yea love of learning, and yea reading. and yea for sharing all these amazing things with my very own daughter. that's one of the best things i've ever had the privilege to do.

she just said to me while i was typing, "mama, did you ever have this feeling that you love everything in the whole wide world? i'm having that feeling *right now*!" yes, eva, i do know that feeling.

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