Archive for December 10th, 2012

December 10, 2012

My baby and books

My son's books, in his favorite formation...

My son’s books, in his favorite formation…

My baby knows about books. I started reading to him the day he came home from the hospital. They were all simple board books, at first. Guess How Much I Love You and Five Little Pumpkins were his favorites for a long time. Then we found several sets of superhero board books at Family Dollar, and he was hooked.

He comes by his love of books honestly.

Reading was my greatest adventure growing up. I lived on a farm, in an area where television reception was sketchy at best. During the hot desert summers, when there was nothing entertaining to do, Mom took my brother and sister and I to the bookmobile. We came home with armfuls of books, piled on Mom’s bed and all read together. It was more than a great education. I didn’t know it then, but it was a great way to connect with people who loved me.

We’ve tried to carry on the tradition. When my daughters were younger, my sweetheart  read aloud to them when he came home from work. The girls colored in princess-y coloring books while he read the Harry Potter series, The Indian in the Cuboard series, The Little House on the Prairie series and all the books in C.S. Lewis’ Narnia series. He read every night until his voice was raspy.

That was his connection time. Mine was taking the children to the library(s). Some days, we toured the cities of Bismarck and Mandan, spending time at the North Dakota state library, the Bismarck Veterans Memorial Public Library and Morton Mandan Public Library all in one morning. After lunch, we camped out in the living room, munching on graham cracker-frosting sandwiches and reading quietly together.

We still love family reading parties, but they’ve changed somewhat over the past few years. Having a toddler around means we read aloud again, and we’re reading quite a few more picture books. Right now, my little guy loves just about anything by Dr. Suess. As soon as I finish a book, he picks it up, puts it back in my hands and says, “Moh. Moh. Moh,” until I read some more.

He seems to love the rhymes. With that in mind, I tried to think of books he’d like for Christmas. My thoughts immediately floated to Clement C. Moore’s T’was the Night Before Christmas. I was too excited to wait. I downloaded it to my Kindle.

Then, to my dismay, I discovered he’s not nearly as enthralled with the Kindle version as I am. The first time I tried to read it to him, he screamed.

Of course he knows something’s wrong. There are no pages to turn, and the pictures aren’t as enchanting if you can’t turn them yourself.

Poor kid. I love my Kindle, but I get where he’s coming from.

Good thing he’s getting books for Christmas, and not a Kindle. The girls decided to box up all their old picture books and wrap them for him. I feel more tender about that than I can say.

After a year and a half, his book collection has outgrown the enormous basket we kept them in. He’s getting a real bookshelf for Christmas, too. I think that’s all he’ll need. I look forward to the times when our house gets almost too quiet, moments  when I have to put my writing aside and go see what he’s up to.

This has happened before. Admittedly, it sometimes means he’s digging in the dog food. Occasionally he’s tripping around the house with my popcorn popper or the lid to the garbage can, but these are exceptions to his general behavior.

More often than not, I find him sitting on the floor in his room with an open book. He turns the pages, points to the pictures and, every few minutes, he babbles something incoherent. He’s happy.

So am I.

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