|She loves looking for the dog and cat in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. Way too much text, but fun pictures. (Picture from December 2013.)|
One of my hobbies is reading. I just love to read. I read books like some people watch movies. I can sit down with a novel and three hours later -- BAM. Book consumed. (Sometimes my sweet hubby has to gently force me away from a book. I just get lost in book world.) I have so many wonderful memories of my dad reading to me before bed, all the way up through middle school. I was the nerdy kid who would go over to a friend's house and read a book there -- while she read too, of course. I actually packed books in my suitcase when I went to London for a reading-intensive semester abroad. A gift card to Barnes & Nobles was one of my favorite annual Christmas gifts growing up. The first year we were married, with no internet, no t.v. and a sleepy rural town, I visited the library weekly. Reading has always been a part of my life.
Being a mom hasn't necessarily cut back on my reading. I read tons of books for the first six months that Lauren was nursing. Not only was she an incredibly slow nurser (she'd nurse for an hour at a time), but she completely ignored the ipad. So I would borrow books digitally from our library and read, read, read. I read all sorts of books in the wee hours of the morning. I read Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand, and it was so captivating that I almost stayed up to finish it despite the completely sleep deprived early days of motherhood. I read a sleep training book in the middle of the night, when I was desperate for some ideas on how to get Lauren to sleep. [Note: the middle of the night is the WORST time to read about how to get your baby to sleep through the night.] I read books on breastfeeding and babies and silly mysteries and memoirs and anything that sounded interesting.
Then Lauren started to reach for the iPad, nursing sessions got shorter (not that I'm complaining!), night awakenings kept happening, and reading disappeared for a while. Now that Lauren is older and sleeping through the night, I find time to chill out with a book, normally after she goes to bed.
All that to say, I love reading. Always have, always will. And I assumed Lauren would love reading too!
Enter my child. Lauren is active. She was active in the womb, and she's been active ever since being born. When she was an infant, she would kick-kick-kick on the floor, her little legs never stopping. And reading? Well, as soon as she could move, she was much more interested in exploring than sitting in front of a book. All of the sleep advice that suggested reading a few quiet stories before bed made my heart heavy. My kid? Maybe if I strapped her down!
I persisted, as much as I could, sometimes reading to her while she was eating or if she relaxed for a few moments. Nothing really seemed to interest her until friends brought over some flap books with textures. She started to flip open the pages while I sped-read through the text. She'd lose interest almost immediately, but slowly -- very slowly -- she started to take an interest in books.
Right about the time Lauren turned one, we finally started to be able to read. It still wasn't the marathon reading session my nephew loves, but it was a start. It helped that she finally started to allow herself to relax, instead of fighting it. Her love has grown from there, and both Dan and I enjoy reading to her. (Notice that a blanket over your lap is a necessity for reading.)
Current favorites include (and the list changes nearly daily) are:
Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Little and James Dean
Alphabet by Matthew Van Fleet
Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion
Mr. Paint Pig's ABCs by Richard Scarry
All Kinds of Kisses by Linda Dowdy
It's scary how many children's books I can recite, top to bottom. And we've only been doing this for 18 months! Imagine how many I'll have memorized after a few years.