Don Nathanson raised two intriguing theoretical questions about which I have facts in one case and, I believe, fact-based opinion in the other.
First, as to the age at which one might expect proverbs to be interpreted: The old Stanford-Binet used the exact three that Don chooses for affective issues. Cognitively, passing them as tests proved to be an average adult task, i.e., 16 year old mentation. The criterion for placing an item in a particular age group was that at least seventy per cent of the age group passed the item, and at least fifty per cent of the preceding age group failed it.
Proverbs have not been included in the Stanford-Binet, however, since 1986. My guess is that they do not successfully compete with TV commercials for space in popular memory.
As to the second matter, I am glad that Don mentioned the notion of a latency period. Gilbert Herdt's latest book establishes that Don is right. Across cultures, there is no period of life in which sexual feelings do not occur nor when (after early infancy) interest in the opposite sex does not occur. What is different by school age, I believe, is that children no longer consciously fantasize about growing up to marry a parent who will have been waiting around for it. Fairy tales (and their modern equivalents) contain princes and princesses who want each other while kings and queens (and ogres and witches) complete the scene.
My idea of why this happens: A child's neurological maturation creates awareness of distant time and is thus instrumental in developing a concept of generationality (by around five or six). This enables the child to see itself on a continuum that leads to taking a place in its own generation. Therefore, the school age years are characterized by concentration on learning the skills needed for adulthood; and sexual interest is confined by the biological limits of a child's capability. In the meantime, identifying with one's own gender group--as children of this age tend to do--reinforces the sturdiness of one's core sense of personal identity. Sexual awareness of the parents breaks through again to some extent with the surge of sexual interest, and plausibility of adulthood, that signifies adolescence.
The Case Conferences are well past these subjects, but I am still enjoying them from the beginning. Perhaps there will be some response, anyhow.