One of the things that Dan and I were really excited about during my pregnancy was to be able to read to our little once he or she made their grand appearance. Over the years, I had started collecting children's books, both vintage and new, from our adventures in different countries, in preparation for this moment. We have books from Berlin, Budapest, Lyon, Lisbon, Madrid, Geneva, Pisa...just to name a few. They all looked so beautiful on the shelf, with bindings in different languages, that we just couldn't wait until we could start butchering other languages, all in the spirit of knowledge for our baby.
Enter Oswin, who had different ideas. She was, in fact, not immediately taken by the act of sitting on Mama or Papa's lap for story time. Every once in awhile she would allow us to read her a page or two from a book, if we read to her while standing or walking, but the latter can be cause for many a stubbed toe or bruised quad. It looked like we would have to wait to unveil our awesome children's literary collection, but we hoped not for too long.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago, where after months of trying to get through one stinking board book before nap time, we actually did just that. Hallelujah! In fact in that sitting we read 3 board books! I was so happy I thought I might cry. Even better still is that ever since then, we get through 2-4 books before each nap, some of them short, some of them longer. We finally have a child that likes to be read to, and it's amazing. She even gets excited when she sees certain book covers, and squeals in delight. My heart bursts a bit each time.
I'm still not sure who likes story time more though, her or me. Because truth be told, it's one of my favorite moments of the day. Yes I love the bonding, and I truly believe that children become readers on their parent's laps, but it's more than just that...
I think kids books are brilliant.
I really really really do. There is something so simple about them. So straightforward. And often so profound (I'm looking at you "Oh the Places You'll Go"...) within their covers.
And it got me to thinking, how do we choose what books to read to our children? I know that reading to Oswin will help with her language development and in learning how to communicate, but at the moment she doesn't know what the books mean. And it made me realize, I choose what books to read to her based on my feelings at the moment, and what I need. Subconsciously I'm picking the books for me, and wherever I am that day. Sound silly? Maybe. But it's the truth.
For instance, I've noticed that I've been reading "Good Night Philadelphia" and "1 2 3 Philadelphia" quite a bit over the last few weeks, and I realized that it's because I've been a bit homesick lately. The start of summer in Philadelphia means baseball games, pool time, drinks outside, and lots of festivals, and it's something that I definitely miss. But it doesn't just stop there.
When I'm feeling the wanderlust, I find I dive into our books about places we like to travel to, like "Everybody Bonjours," a super cute kid's book about Paris. We've been talking a lot lately about planning a Paris trip (because it's been far too long), and I think that's why I've been reading Paris books to her frequently as well. The book above is also a big time favorite, "On a Vole La Tour Eiffel," which is about someone stealing the Eiffel Tower (but really it just kind of goes on a bunch of adventures...)
I've also found that when I miss friends back home, I tend to read her books given to us by friends, because it makes me think of them. Some of our friends will forever be thought of based on Dr. Seuss characters, and I don't think that's a bad thing.
Other psychological analysis of my book choices for Oswin lately? Well, when I've been practicing French a lot, or feel the need to up my confidence with it, I read "Les Chiffres" to Oswin, because I understand everything in it, and can actually pronounce the words correctly. (Yes I'm essentially at board book level French...) I've also noticed that if I'm having a hard day, I always read her "Oh the Places You'll Go," because that book has always really spoken to me. It is by far my favorite Dr. Seuss book, both for the illustrations and content.
So, how about you? Do you find yourself projecting onto your children via their storytime? Am I the only one? (Please say I'm not...)
A la prochaine friends...