Motherhood + Igniting a Love of Reading
Raising my child alone, I knew going into this journey that I wanted some traits of my own to be picked up by Tad. I also knew that just because I loved something, didn't mean that he necessarily would. During my pregnancy, I was obsessed with reading articles and Pinterest charts on how to raise a highly intelligent child. I read parenting books and pamphlets just because I was curious. Was there a right path to wander down that could lead my son to success? Though I did agree with some ideas, most of them I decided were too much for me. I don't like following rules! If my son was going to be highly intelligent, it would be because he just was, you know? There was one tip, however, that I found really interesting and most likely true: If you want your child to love reading, then read in front of them. Read for pleasure, don't force them to try it, just show them that you are interested in it.
I thought that this was such a wise piece of advice! Of course, a love of reading would ignite from showing and not telling, just like many other lessons. Tad, the older he gets, continues to show that he loves to learn. He loves to play copy-cat games; we call it "Simon Says" where we repeat motions and poses back and forth. He can get pretty creative! We do puzzles and matching games, I try to reduce his toys as much as possible so that he has to be creative with his pretending. I never want to be the person that makes him do something because of who I think he should become.
I made a decision, after he first showed an interest in books, that I would never deny him a book if he brought it to me. Even if I am busy, I make sure that I stop what I am doing and enjoy a book with him. It's this little practice that I think will continue to spark the pleasure of reading. It's been quite some time since I just sat and read a book because I wanted to. Being a single parent to an extremely active toddler + running a small business has left me setting some priorities higher than others; reading for pleasure? That's been pushed under the rug for a bit. Yet, I am aching to just sit and read. I miss it!
Recently, I went to see Fantastic Beasts + Where to Find Them. I loved it so much, I saw it a second time. After that show, my mom made the comment, "How lucky you are to have grown up with this entire series from start to finish!" And it made me travel back to the time of hearing the first Harry Potter book for the first time. I suppose I don't remember the exact first time, I was only four or five, but I do remember seeing the movie. I remember sitting in my bed, covered in pink fluffy blankets, and reading chapter after chapter of each book with my mom. She would perform the voices, in a British accent, of every character. Soon, I was reading chapters to her, and she would fall asleep missing most of the book and hurrying to read it while I was at school. My dad would grab the books after I had fallen asleep and stay up to read what he had missed. It was our thing, our little family ritual.
Seeing the new movie made me realize how much I missed reading them, how much I wanted to pick up that first book again and remember why I loved it so as a child. But then I had laundry to do and put a toddler to sleep. Even though those things are taking up space in my free time right now, I needed to make a promise to myself, to keep reading to my boy even if we can't read the big books yet. Sometimes I worry, what if he despises Harry Potter? What if he hates reading?! I suppose I will be a bit sad, but we will move on, and start a new tradition with something that he enjoys. I just really hope that on the year he turns five, we will snuggle up in bed together, and I will start that first chapter with the Dursleys on Privet Drive and tell him all about the little boy that lives in the cupboard under the stairs, and that he will be so excited to hear all about magic. That will be magical to me.