The Naivety of Presumption

“Hello!” The letter begins. It’s written on glossy white paper with a cute little bear dressed as a bee in the corner. The letter comes from The Book Trust and is accompanied with a shiny new book that all Reception aged children have received across the country.

The letter continues, “You must be bursting with pride that your child has started to learn to read at school.” I stop there and a lump forms in my throat. I flick through the lovely book that Oliver has come home with from school, ‘The Bumble Bear’. Each page is bursting with fun images, colourful pages and exciting characters.

Sure, I’m bursting with pride I thought. I’m bursting with pride because Oliver was able to hold his head by himself today for up to five seconds. I’m proud because he stretched his legs for me in anticipation of being moved into his stander. My heart swells when I hear that at school Oliver vocalised in response to a question, and raised his hand in anticipation for his switch for morning greeting. I feel like celebrating when his teacher tells me that he’s now starting to sit unaided for up to thirty seconds. My whole world is transformed when he manages to fix his wandering eyes on mine and smile.

I read that sentence again, “You must be bursting with pride that your child has started to learn to read at school.” Well, he might not be learning to read and is unlikely to ever be able to read, but we can still enjoy this lovely story together at bed time tonight. And with that thought I swallow down the lump in my throat and place the gorgeous new book alongside all of Oliver’s other books on the shelf in his bedroom.

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