I hate being read to.

I know, I’m supposed to love it. People love it. I saw a facebook post years ago that listed ‘reading to your partner’ as the biggest turn on of all, even more than doing the laundry or taking the children away for a day. Wow, would that ever not work for me. I reckon I would smack your face if you started reading to me in bed. Shut up! I have my own book!

Reasons cited by those who love being read to include: feelings of security, coziness, being nurtured. We are read to when we are children and we make positive associations with it, and what a treat, to rest our eyes and just let the words wash over us.

No. No. No. First of all, most people read at the wrong pace. They either read too fast, or they do that slow…poetry reading…STYLE of … reading … where we are meant to … really … HEAR every nuance. They have voices that sound like nails on chalkboards, or they have voices that sound like they are sneering at us, or they have voices that should just remain in their heads because if they were meant to be SPEAKERS they wouldn’t be WRITERS now would they?

It isn’t how the words sound in my head. Only my head knows how the words are supposed to sound.

In other words, I can’t be satisfied. I just don’t like being read to.

(It occurs to me now to hope that I never go blind.)

I like reading, silently, to myself. I don’t mind reading aloud — as long as it’s not my own writing. I try to pace myself and not do the poetry reading thing. I try to do funny voices. I am not a children’s librarian or anything but I enjoy reading books to my kids.

I was walking along, the other day, thinking about this, and wondering when it changed. When I went from being someone who loved being read to by her parents to someone who has to be reading the words either to herself or to someone else. I wondered idly if it was when I learned to read. Whether, when I got the chance to run with the words myself, I no longer wanted or trusted anyone to tell me what was on the page.

Whether, in other words, it is about control. I started kindergarten having already learned to read. By all accounts, I was frustrated with the lack of progress in my peer group (I have a February birthday). Having observed three weeks now of kindergarten behavior I (need a spa vacation) would say that my five year old’s main issue at the moment is Control.

Who has it, how to get it, how to display it when you get it, when to rescind it. Janet Jackson has nothing on my son.

I wonder if I made some sort of quiet, subconscious slip into I AM THE READER NOT YOU, BUCKO when I was the same age, if it was the best way for me to get what I needed. I mean, I can be kind of a control freak. I know this. And I have observed that when I release my control on my kids, they behave much better. Like sand in your hand, the harder you squeeze, the less sand you end.. up … yeah that doesn’t make any sense but I bet you know what I mean.

I wonder if it’s too late now to remove my own, fairly well-developed control muscle. If I stop using it, it will atrophy, but how do you stop using something so wonderful? Or just keep it at “healthy body” levels of development as opposed to “winning the body building competition, all greased up and wearing a tiny bikini” levels of development?

Tips welcome.*

* But don’t say “take audio books out of the library” **

** Oh wait, I’m trying to control your response now. Never mind.

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