According to my mom I was reading at two years-old. Now that I’ve had three children, I’m not sure I believe her. But one thing I’m quite certain about is that I was holding a book in my hands most of the time. When I began reading them is up for debate!
I read to my first child all the time. To my second as well. To my third…not as much. It’s something I try to squeeze in, but don’t often succeed at. Just the word squeeze makes me flinch. Reading shouldn’t be squeezed in, it should be enjoyed, treasured.
There are a million reasons why I don’t read as much to my third child. [My older children take music lessons and we practice everyday. They are both athletic, my son is on a competitive swim team, my daughter is a gymnast. Um, I forgot about the daily homework, which in an immersion program is very heavy. And then there's the daily household duties. So my poor little two-year old gets left to entertain himself much more than his sibling ever had to. This is not a bad thing, he's much more independent in some ways (in others not at all!), and he's become very good at getting into things he's not supposed to.]
But there will always be reasons.
Fostering a love of literature in my children is very important to me. I think it’s one of the greatest gifts we can give our children. I’m a writer after all, it’s my greatest passion. But the kids don’t see my process, and they are too young to understand it. All they see is mommy on the computer.
The other day I heard myself thinking, well, it’s okay that I don’t read to my toddler so often, he’ll either like books or he won’t.
Yesterday when it was just me and my eldest in the car he said: “I love reading. I love books. I have to read everyday. I can’t fall asleep if I don’t read.”
“Me too,” I said.
“Even when my eyes are so tired I can’t see properly, I’ll read,” he said.
“Me too,” I said, and laughed. I know that feeling so well, of struggling to keep my eyes open just to turn the page, and then another, and another.
“You fell asleep next to me every night for five years watching me read,” I continued. (yes it took that long before he was able to put himself to sleep. First child–what can I say?)
And that’s when it struck me. Sure, my two-year old may naturally gravitate towards books, but it’s my job as his mom to show him how important they are. How they are an integral part of our daily lives. We learn by example, and this is one example I don’t want to bypass.
If bedtime comes upon us too quickly, I’ll read after school, before diner, after diner. It doesn’t matter when a book is read. So long as it’s read.
How about you:
Do/did you read to your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, or any other little ones in your life?
And how important is reading to you? Is it something you do daily, or sporadically?
(*image taken from children’s colouring website: http://coloringtown.com/children-coloring-pages/)