There are some things that you are just supposed to know as a person who reads books. Also, probably, as a parent.
1) Don't destroy books.
2) Don't write on books.
3) Don't draw on books.
I do know how things are supposed to be. I know what's right. But. I get a little caught up in "Whose book is it really?" For instance, if a child is given a copy of Five Little Ducks, and chooses to color in the ducks so they are all black, is this wrong?
This, if you can't tell, is one of the areas where too much thinking turns me into a pretty crappy parent. It should be so easy! I should just say, "Books aren't for drawing in," with a kind yet grave smile (think Ma from Little House in the Big Woods) and the child would LEARN.
Instead, I said, "Books aren't for drawing in," and they she said (this is all long ago, sort of) "But they look much better this way," and I think, "Hmm. Not exactly, but I see what she's getting at," and said, "But it's a book for other people to read," and she said, "But it's my book," and I said, "Well, just because someone gives you something and says it's yours doesn't really mean it's yours," and then we both look confused and get distracted by something.
All of which is to say that we have ended with many, many books that have been drawn in (Betsy-Tacy in particular are very decorated—line drawings seem to cry out for the crayon), and other books...written in.
Here's how I am trying to feel OK about this. I am going to call these notes marginalia. Doesn't that sound reassuringly academic? Even gifted? Take a look.
See? Sure, it's a beautiful hardcover edition of D'Aulaires Greek Myths. But look at that questing mind!
Enthusiasm! The key to learning, no doubt.
And then there's this one, which Chestnut recently mentioned to me. As the recipient of all the hand-me-down books, she has borne the brunt of the, er, marginalia the most. And a lot of the time it annoys her. But with this next one, she said, "You know, Mommy, she really has a point."
And, yeah, I see it. He was afraid of nothing, yet feared her fits. OK, that's a contradiction, I'll accept it.
Have I created a monster? Or is this just another awesome thing that happened by mistake that I should remember to grateful for? I am thinking the latter.
Also: she's not the only person who does this, right? RIGHT? I would appreciate lots of encouraging "Well, my child always wrote in his books and now he has cured cancer!" etc.