I’m embarrassed to say that until last week we didn’t read a whole lot to Little L. I know, I know. It’s horrible. I mean, she heard lots of songs, and she experienced the occasional book, and I know that at daycare they read a ton. But at home? My focus was on getting a somewhat regular bedtime routine set up so that she’d actually sleep at night. (Let’s not forget that Little L didn’t sleep through the night until two months ago, and even now doesn’t sleep through consistently.) I got to the point where she’d take a bottle in the dark and settle down enough to fall asleep on her own. Since I’m not one to mess with something that’s working I never really integrated a book segment to the bedtime routine.
Then this past week I listened to the This American Life podcast about Geoffrey Canada’s Harlem Baby College and I realized that I was royally screwing up. Seriously? Shortchanging Little L on books so she can sleep a little more? They’re teaching poverty stricken parents that the way to raise their kids out of poverty is simply to read to them every night. Every parenting magazine drums the importance of reading to kids into its readers over and over again. So what on earth was I thinking?
And it’s not even like we have no books. We have books everywhere. You can trip over a stack of children’s books in every room in our house. We read to C religiously, it’s just poor Little L who’s been getting shortchanged. Because of sleep. I stay up late to read a good book! Why shouldn’t she?
So this week I made a point to curl up with Little L and a stack of books at least once every day. We read Pat the Bunny, Moo Ba La la la, Find the Teddy*, and a host of other classics and not so classics. And now? Well now she’s obsessed. Obsessed I tell you. She finds a book, and clutches it to her chest as she waddles around the house looking for an unsuspecting target. As soon as she finds someone, anyone, even C, she stands in front of the person, shoves the book at them, and either sits down with an expectant look, or shrieks “EAAAAD!” until they give in, sit down, and read the book to her.
I want to be annoyed by the never ending reading requests, but I’m actually thrilled. I’m an avid reader and I want my kids to love books too. So if I have to read Moo, Baa, La la la until I go cross eyed to make that happen then I’m happy to do it. Also, if it means that we’re no longer missing the boat on Little L’s earliest education, then that’s great. It’s definitely a good thing. Or at least she thinks so.
*Want to know where Teddy is hiding? I’m not telling, you can come read the book to Little L yourself. (OK, that’s mean. Teddy is in the drawer, and in the basket of toys, and under the bed, but not near baby’s head. In case you were wondering.)
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