I feel like when you embark on the motherhood journey one of the things most people tell you to do is "Read to them always!" Even while within the womb, even when they can't hold their own head up and keep their eyes open for more than 13 minutes ... read to your baby! Honestly, the second you become a mother the advice comes in bucket loads and most can be dismissed. A lot of it is subjective to those who have experienced certain things. Motherhood for me is taking one day at a time and cultivating my own way of doing things. A bunch of trail and error mixed with intuition and support from my own mother and husband. Though, the reading thing. I believe it to be a true necessity.
I have made it a point to weave in reading and book play into our daily routine. Mila has gone from enjoying the colors, to laughing at my voices, showing interest in turning pages (also ripping pages) and now she mimics reading on her own when she comes across a book. Or even her dad's Men's Health magazine. Her bubbly babble while she mimics reading melts my whole heart! I've taken a bunch of video so I can look back at those sweet moments. I can't wait for the days where she runs up and asks for me to read her a specific book or when we cuddle before bed and read a book together. I remember so vividly Ryan and I squished into his toddler sized bed as we read 'Dragons Love Tacos'. It was the his favorite book at the moment and we have his copy that we read together displayed in our living room. We also have a new copy in Mila's library. It is a special book because it is the last book I ever read to him and well I just adore it. I can still hear Ryan's laugh sometimes when I read it now.
Right now with Mila being the curious one year old that she is, it is unlikely to sit still for more than one story. We start out with a book while Mila sits in my lap, then she will eventually wiggle away. Which is totally fine. I keep reading and showing her the pages. She looks, touches the book, smiles at me, finds a stuffed animal to play with or a toy. She plays and then comes back to the book and so on. I think so long as I continue to read to her, her love of books will slowly grow. I do want to keep reading fun for her and when I read to her it seems to make her pretty happy. Sometimes while I read she will come and rest her head on my thigh for a moment. She will look up at me and the book and smile. Those tiny moments are everything.
We read at least two books in the morning when Mila wakes up. I sit in her nursery and that is usually when she will sit the longest and listen to me read. Still laden with sleep she plays with her ear lobe and rests her head against my chest. Once she starts to try and turn pages I know she is starting to wake up fully and in no time she will start to wail for some breakfast. In the evening after Mila's bath Dan and I take turns reading. Sometimes we sit together and read as a family as Mila listens to us, plays a bit and starts to wind down. Or Dan will give her a bath and read so I can take a hot shower/have a moment to myself. We read in the morning and in the evening and it seems to sort of book end our day. No pun intended! Our reading routine somehow sets up for success for the day and also for a good night. Ryan sort of knew that after story time came bed time which resulted in a pretty seamless night time routine. I love reading to my little ones. In some ways I feel like reading bed time stories un-locks a 'mom level', you know it is just one of those sweet mama moments that only a mom or parent can really understand. It is pure joy and the fact that it is so good for your babe makes it all the more enjoyable. I am looking forward to learning what book becomes Mila's true favorite.
Currently our go-to reads are below, you can click on the titles to learn more and add them to your library if you don't already have them. Each book is under $20 and a few are just $5! Leave your current favorite reads in the comment section too, I'm always looking for fun new books!
The Hug Machine by Scott Campbell
Vegetables in Underwear by Jared Chapman
Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell
No Fits, Nilson! by Zachariah OHora
Giraffes Can't Dance by Giles Andreae & Guy Parker-Rees
The Pout-Pout Fish in the Big-Big Dark by Deborah Diesen