Look around my house on any given day and you will find children’s items scattered about. The other day when I was helping my son clean up, I noticed that in amongst all the toys were lots of books. He’s 20 months and in the last few months has really taken an interest in “reading”. His reading involves flipping quickly through pages and identifying things he knows. When I notice him with a book, I try to take that opportunity to sit with him and either read, or identify pictures. Sometimes he wants to hear the full story, sometimes he wants to go through a book at his own pace. Either way is fine with me. We work on an ever expanding vocabulary that he is slowly mastering. It happens several times a day. It got me thinking about reading, and the role it plays in young lives. As a daytime at home mom, I spend the days reading, playing, and generally entertaining our little muffin.
At night, my husband takes over the lead with our son. Our bed time routine for our little 20 month old muffin is probably very similar to most family bed time routines. Undress child, dress child in pjamas, brush or assist with brushing teeth, chase child around the house, trying to convince said child that it’s REALLY time for bed now, and perhaps throw a bath in there somewhere along the way.
For us, just before our little muffin’s head hits the pillow, we try to read. Actually, it’s become a Daddy-Dylan routine. They sit together in his room and look at a book. Lately our little muffin is enjoying stories with animals. He’s working on animal sounds, so any excuse to use them is fun. Last night, and most nights as of late they have been reading Say Hello to the Animals by Ian Whybrow and Tim Warnes. Daddy tries to read each page at the pace our little muffin will allow. Often Daddy has time to ask “what does the animal say” to which we always get a reply. Not always a right one, but hey- he’s 20 months, and he’s learning. Our little muffin studies some pages, points and smiles, names some animals or items, and when he’s ready, proceeds to the next page. Say Hello to the Animals is a really good book for this age with short text, touch and feel animals, beautiful pictures, and sturdy pages. (Regarding sturdy pages- we won’t discuss the page tearing incident when reading with Granddad) So as Daddy and little muffin read, share, and enjoy the book, I hope that we are instilling a love of reading in our son while working on his vocabulary, pronunciation, and general knowledge.
I decide to leave them to enjoy the book, and each other, and I head back to finish cleaning up the bomb site in the living room. Few steps into ground zero, a conversation that I had with a friend pops into my mind. Actually just one phrase to be exact. In her infinite wisdom, she said “there is no point in cleaning up between the hours of 8 am and 8 pm when you have children”. As I look around, I nod in agreement. Listening to the sounds of my husband’s voice reading, and my son’s voice barking, I notice that it’s not quite 8 pm yet; I think I’ll just have a quick seat.