I have always been a reader. One of my earliest memories is going to Story Time at a local bookstore with my Kindergarten class, then being told by the teacher that we could each choose one book to keep. Most of my classmates chose thin, popular books (like those Disney ones that came with the listen-along tape) but I rummaged through that bookstore looking for the perfect book for me. Finally, I found it: A Story for Every Day of the Year. I had read the whole thing front to back within a couple of weeks.
Growing up, I preferred reading to most everything else in life. Playing with my friends was fun, but so was staying home curled up with a good book and reading for hours on end. Instead of toys for Christmas and birthdays, I always asked for books. In fact, I read so much that my mom actually threw a book out the car window once. Whoever heard of a mother trying to encourage her child not to read???
I am very lucky to have married someone who shares my passion for literature (well, maybe not to my level of obsession, but close), so it was really important to us that our children also enjoy books. The first toy we ever gave Dylan was a little bumble bee-shaped board book. He loved looking at it - and chewing it up - so much that it fell apart before we even left Kazakhstan.
From the moment we took custody of Dylan, we began reading to him. We read before naptime, we read at bedtime, we read as part of playtime...his books are strewn all over the house! At first they were simple board books, but as Dylan has aged, we've started introducing him to the stories I grew up with: Red Riding Hood, The Three Little Pigs, Puss in Boots, etc. Family members and friends have also encouraged his love of reading and have gifted him such classics as The Pokey Little Puppy, Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes, Goodnight Moon, Where the Wild Things Are and various Dr. Seuss books.
Here's the thing, though...I had never read any of those books. I had never even heard of most of them (with the exception of Dr. Seuss). It has been as much of a discovery for me to read them as it has for Dylan. Some of the books are mystifying to me. No matter how many times I read Goodnight Moon and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do You See?, I cannot for the life of me understand why they are considered classics. What's the appeal? Is it the colors? The repetition? I don't get it, but that doesn't matter. Dylan loves them.
Other books are a complete revelation and I wonder why it is that I never read them as a child. I especially love Dr. Seuss. Dylan is currently obsessed with Green Eggs and Ham and One Fish, Two Fish Red Fish, Blue Fish. I love hearing him "read" with me (I'll start out the rhyme and he finishes it) and know that these books will bring him much joy for many years to come.
Whether Dylan's love for books endures throughout his life remains to be seen. I hope it does. I hope he feels the same little thrill of excitement that I feel when entering a bookstore and picking out a new book to read. It's like discovering my own new little world, one in which I can lose myself for days or weeks or months. No one will ever quite see this world in the same way I will. It's magical. And I can't wait to share that magic with him.
Tags: Blue Fish, Dr. Seuss, Goodnight Moon, Green Eggs and Ham, Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes, One Fish, parenting, Puss in Boots, Reading to your child, Red Riding Hood, The Pokey Little Puppy, The Three Little Pigs, Two Fish Red Fish, Where the Wild Things Are