As his vocabulary developed, I would read bedtime stories with the wrong words, simply to be corrected by the wildly observant child. It was a useful exercise for many reasons, and had the added benefit of irritating him. “Don’t be funny! Read it all right!”
“Don’t you think this blue hedgehog is cranky?”
“He’s not a hedgehog, he’s a rabbit! And a girl! And pink!”
“You’re so silly. Obviously that’s a hamster.”
“It isn’t! It’s a rabbit! A pink girl rabbit!”
And, just in case the trouble was your ability to hear, he’d tell you more loudly. He had no idea how much he was learning. To sightread more ably, to comprehend the storyline, to correct errors without losing his temper or his friendliness. To play.
Perfectionism is dangerous. There’s a reason it’s a common trait among addicts and the righteous. This world is messy and chaotic and magic and unpredictable. We learn best when we’re allowed to experiment. When we read the characters with silly voices, and color the sky magenta with stripes. Julia Child said, “No matter what happens in the kitchen, never apologize.” This is what I’m talking about. No act of creation requires an apology. If it isn’t what you meant, or what you wanted, build something else. Who knows what you’re learning? Maybe something fun.