As I finished reading “Are you my Mother?” By P.D. Eastman to my 3-year-old, she was upset that the story ended and that the mother bird did not teach the baby bird how to fly. This is one of her favorite stories and I was taken aback by her reaction last night because she thoroughly enjoyed this story the other hundred times that I had read it to her. But I followed her cue and we spent the next 5 minutes or so taking turns to add to the story. I am not sure if we taught the baby bird how to fly through before she wanted me to start reading the next story.
This is one of the few routines that I share with my daughter since she was an infant. Her excitement to the books and to bedtime stories has had it ups and downs. There were times when she was so disinterested, I wondered if my efforts were worth but I kept at it. With smartphones and tablets entering her life, I worried that she would stop looking forward to our bedtime stories. I am so glad that reading to her (singing nursery rhymes are no longer a perfect substitute) is still the best way to put her to sleep. She will fuss and cry if I don’t read to her (on those days with extreme headaches), then she simply leaves my company and turns to her dad to read to her and to put her to sleep.
Public libraries have made this particular story-time so much enjoyable to both of us. With stories to be read, at least 3 of those every night, I would have pulled out all my hair if I had to keep reading “The Mine-O-Saur” by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen and “Llama Llama Red Pajama” by Anna Dewdney (still among our all-time favorites!) with the same enthusiasm every night for 3 years. With frequent visits to the Public libraries, it became easier to communicate messages like “Don’t make noise inside the library” after reading “Library Lion” by Michelle Knudson. Watching Mindy Sterling read Library Lion even inspired me to read aloud to her a lot better, I am very happy that my daughter would still prefer that I read it to her after watching the YouTube video.
The question during every doctor’s visit: “Are you reading to her?” now seems more reasonable. Articles on reading to children suddenly reasons more validity as I turn to more of them like 10 Reasons Why You Should Read to Your Kids and Reading Aloud to Children.
As she comprehends more, it is sometimes still difficult to explain some of her questions “How can I change my mind? ” or “Will you marry me?” I have to be ever so careful reading those “almost-memorized” books when she catches me saying something from the wrong page. There are many things that I want to experience with me… I am so glad that no matter what, we enjoy those bedtime stories together.
And…………. I urge you to share this wonderful bonding time with your kids if you don’t already. These little sponges will surprise you.