Last night as I was tucking Elia in, I finished reading The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane to her and was about to say goodnight when she asked if she could read her other book, Fablehaven, a little bit longer. I said sure, until eight o’clock, then call me and I’ll finish tucking you in. She’s in the final 25% of that one, which, if you read fiction books, you know that the last quarter-to-third of a book is all rising and peak action; it gets hard to put down.
A few minutes later I heard, “Mom? I’m ready.” I went up to her room and Elia said, “My book was really exciting, and I didn’t want to stop, but (she gestured to her bedside clock to say, ‘as you can see,’) it’s 8:00.” On the dot.
It struck me that she had the awareness and self control to stop herself in the middle of reading (her favorite thing in the world) an exciting scene in her book (making it extra enjoyable) just because the clock shows certain agreed-upon numbers.
It struck me how much I am able to trust her.
I asked her if she would like to continue reading, until she gets past the exciting part and the action slows down a little bit. I didn’t know how long that would be, but I knew that she was tired and I knew that she knew to find a good stopping place. Two pages before the end of one of the last chapters in an interesting book is not a good stopping place. But the clock said 8:00…
I trusted that she was capable of making her own decision about this. Indeed she did; I never tucked her in last night, and I don’t know what time she stopped reading. All I know is that by the time I went to bed, her light was off, she was sound asleep, and her book was sitting on her nightstand, marked just a little further in.
Last night’s demonstration of self-capability has me full of wonder. I wonder about the decisions and opportunities for independence and intuition that will come her way in the future. I wonder how she’ll handle them.
Very well, I trust.