One of the first things I bought for my older (elder? help me with this one guys) son when he was a wee new born was books. I had read all about how it’s never too early to start reading to your child, so I set off to buy order him some books. One was a board book of nursery rhymes, and the other a set of Jan Pienkowski books.
Our little collection of books though modest in origin has become something of a behemoth. Initially housed in the bottom two shelves of our IKEA bjarngyarn (Ok I made that up, but it could totally be an Ikea bookshelf name) it went on to occupy a firestation shaped bookshelf and when that couldn’t contain it, we went and got our kids (by now the second one had arrived) a proper, grown up bookshelf. Which of course is now groaning under the weight of all their books.
I love buying my kids books. I cannot pass a bookstore, stall, roadside book vendor and not stop and pick something up. I buy books for them with the same, if not more intense, interest that I do for myself. The joke in our house is that books and water bottles have now become necessities and are no longer luxuries or treats.
We read everything in our house. Mog, The Gruffalo, Knuffle Bunny have met Gajapathi Kulapathi, Sunu Sunu the Snail and The Why Why Girl. Our shelves are like an inventory of Tulika and Katha and everything the wonderful Ms. Donaldson has ever written.
We’ve gone from strictly reading fiction to branching out in to other areas. Tulika has a great set of Science for beginners books which even my two year old loves. The DK set of young encyclopedias is glossy and full of great pictures and easy to understand factoids. And of course The Magic School Bus is a favourite, though I haven’t figured out quite how to read the story and all the little notes and asides in one go.
But this year, something magical has happened. SOmething that I’ve been waiting for. My son has started to read himself. Tentatively. Small baby steps. But he’s getting there. And it’s amazing how much joy this can give a parent. These small little things our children do – the first time they roll over, walk, babble, put two pieces of a puzzle together… the first time they can read cat. That pride bubbling away inside, threatening to spill over and explode… it’s amazing. The intensity of it never ceases to surprise me, and I have to remind myself to reign it in, lest I become one of ‘those’ mothers.
I was reading through the archives of a blog I’ve come to love: Dinner A Love Story and found this post. While my pile of books hasn’t quite been relegated to a corner of the house and I think one day I’ll finish all the books I plan to read. I can almost feel that pride and little hint of jealousy at the ease with which his daughter’s devour books.
My father made me the reader that I am. I hope I can do the same for my kids.