Monday, September 29, 2014

Parenthood: Week 70 - Read to me?

It was my turn last Saturday to get up early with Ollie.  He’s a morning person and will get up around 6am every day. On the weekends we usually switch off who gets up early with him and who sleeps in.  Last Saturday morning it was my turn.

He played by himself for a little bit as I got myself through my morning routine. When I sat down on the floor he immediately grabbed a book and pushed it towards me. I excitedly read his book of choice to him. Then he chose another book for me to read, followed by more books. At a certain point, a toy distracted him and I started to doze off only to be awoken by the feeling of a board book being shoved into my throat.

Wearily I wiped the sleep off from my eyes, found a little bit of energy and began reading to him once again because of a promise I had made to myself and to Ollie.

When I think of the most meaningful milestones Ollie’s first words don’t come to mind or the first time he crawled. What comes to mind was the first time he giggled at Diana and the first time he brought a book to me to read.

The first time I read a book to Ollie he was six days old. It was kind of cute but at that point he could barely see, so it felt a little pointless. I wanted to start him our right but honestly reading to a newborn is kind of drag, so instead I just spent time talking to him, cuddling with him and changing his diapers.

As time went on and he became more responsive we read to him more and more. A lot of the time he would try to eat the book or crawl away before we got past the first page of the book. We kept at it and made a ritual of family story time every night.

Ollie slowly started to show preferences for certain books, giggling at certain pages and pointing to specific pictures repeatedly. And then that magic moment happened: Ollie crawled over to a pile of books he had pulled off his shelf, specifically chose one book and pushed it into my lap.

I read this book and he laughed without prompting at jokes in the book at the right time. When I finished the book and put it down with the other books, he crawled over, picked up the book and insisted I read it again. This happened about five times before we finally called it a night.

Ollie displayed incredible cognitive growth that evening. He recognized a specific book and related the contents of the book to its cover. Ollie followed along with the story, predicting when the jokes occurred and responded to the pictures and my voice. Also, Ollie communicated to me preference, his opinion, telling me not only what he wanted but what he enjoyed.

I was so proud of him. In that moment we saw the spark of a love of reading and I made a promise to him that night that I would do whatever I could to help develop in him a love for reading. If that means going to bookstores and libraries on a weekly basis or reading books to him whenever he asks, I would make it happen for Ollie.

I will even read that book where that narrator insists on saying goodnight to everything.  I get saying goodnight to a kitten but a bowl of mush?  Shouldn't you have brought that to the kitchen instead of leaving it out all night?  And honestly who says goodnight to "nobody"?  That's just creepy and weird.

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