Tad's Favorite Books
You know that moment when you first discover that you're pregnant, and you set out to read every single pregnancy book out on the market? You search and search the internet combing for all of the tips, tricks, and magical spells that will make you the best parent ever. There are a million different subjects ranging from how to nurse, to how to get your baby to sleep for twelve straight hours without waking (here's my advice on that one: baby's don't have a normal sleep schedule BECAUSE THEY'RE BABIES). I soaked in the advice from so many different sources that you should read aloud to your baby. Read to them while they're in the womb, read to them before naps and bedtime to set them on a good schedule, read to them to teach them language.
Well, I didn't do that. I never read to Tad in the womb because I felt awkward. I thought he could get enough of a sample of my voice just by me talking. I won't lie to you, reading to my baby before he was born sounded silly, and I didn't do that romantic gesture of speaking with him in my solitude. I wanted to talk and read with him when he got here! When he finally did arrive, I didn't read to him then either. Trust me, I tried! I would pick up books when he was still in that baby-vegetable state, and begin to read only to feel that I could just converse with him better, even if he didn't understand me. When we reached the six-month-old stage, all he wanted to do was rip out the flaps, chew on the covers, and tear out pages. Not a fun experience.
On Tad's first birthday, he picked up the first book we ever read together. He had received it as a gift: Goodnight, Johnny Tractor. It was like a switch had suddenly flipped on. We read that book at least fifty times that day, over and over again, voices and noise and laughter. It was actually really magical for me! I enjoyed watching him study each page and picture, desperately wanting to flip to the next page to see what happened next. Now, we have taken on a love of reading. When we wake up in the morning, he heads straight to his book basket at the side of our bed and flips one open in his lap to gaze at the illustrations, while I lie in covers and snuggle a little longer. He has his own book shelf with all of the hardcover books for little hands, the kind where he can't rip the pages out (we've learned that one the hard way). As you can see, One with a Bun has been loved (and chewed) on; it was mine as an infant as well! Barnes & Noble has a great selection of books just for little hands! That's always our first stop when we go, after the train set, of course.
I think one of my favorite things to find is Tad at his book basket or sitting near his shelf with a book in his little lap, carefully flipping the pages, really looking at all of the pictures. No one told him to pick one up nor showed him where they are, no one taught him how to do it. He just picks one out of his own free will and sits to read it himself. I think that is so amazing, mostly because I have loved reading so much growing up and as an adult. As a young child, I desperately wanted to learn to read like my parents and some of my favorite characters (Hermione and Belle). I would sit with an adult novel, turned upside down, pretending to know what the words meant.
I read an article before Tad was born that the best way to instill a love of reading in your child is to constantly read around them. Children learn through you, by watching and copying. I would rather show him what a great joy a book can be than force him to do it! Because I have seen how that can backfire on you. A kid I used to babysit for had a reading schedule over the summer from his parents, and that just made him despise it.
My little ham (; He knows now when his photo is being taken! Ha!
Some of our favorites right now are One with a Bun, Where is my Cat?, Woof Woof and Roar Roar, If You Give A Pig A Pancake, Baby Bear, Baby Bear What Do You See?, Llama Llama Zippity Zoom. Each of these books is full of fun noises, large and colorful pictures, and hard pages! I can't stress enough about the hard pages. I hope this reading trend never ends, and that I find him snuggled up in a corner reading The Great Gatsby or Harry Potter one day. It gives me butterflies!