Monday, February 25, 2008


When my oldest two were little I spent oodles and oodles of time reading to them. When number three came along, I also read to him lots and lots. It was fun to snuggle on the couch and read through the Sandra Boynton books or "Madeline", or Dr. Seuss, or whatever happened to be the favorite that day.

But then 17 months after number 3, came number 4; and 14 months after number 4, number 5 arrived; and when number 5 was 3 months old we moved. I was too tired to read, I was too tired to clean, I was too tired to teach the older ones, I was too tired to do much of anything. But I go through it, I survived and so have my kids, but I regret not taking time to read to the younger ones as much and now it is five years later.

I admit, at times I thought I'd failed them, that they'll never love reading and listening to stories, but this just isn't true. I have read to them, but just not all the "baby" books. They were listening all the while I read in the car, so they've heard all of "The Series of Unfortunate Events," "Harry Potter," "Little House on the Prairie," and currently "The Chronicles of Narnia." They love these stories and use them as springboards for their imaginative play. They've also listened to all the history readings and science readings; my oldest two didn't have that chance when they were their younger siblings ages. And the younger crew know some of the other stories too, maybe not as well as their big sisters, but they are coming close.

One of my favorites has always been "Time for Bed" by Mem Fox, illustrated by Jane Dyer. I read that one to pieces for the older three and we ended up having to toss it. With new babies and a move I had forgotten all about it until about 3 months ago when I chanced upon it at the library. My youngest fell in love with it. I put it on my list to buy but before I had the chance we were at my sister's and she let me go through a stack of books she was giving away - and it was in there!

He keeps it in his room. Every night after he has gone upstairs to put on his jammies and brush his teeth, he comes back down carrying that book. He looks up at me with those sparkling little eyes, holding out the book; then crawls into my lap awaiting the story. I oblige, having him "snuggle in tight, that's right, like that," and giving him the "very last kiss" at the story's end.

After tonight's reading and Sam trotted back upstairs, I remembered that the other night time book I read to pieces and had to toss as well was "Good Night Moon." I think I'm going to have to go hunting for another copy of that one too, I might just get two stories worth of snuggling in each night that way.


Karen said...

I've been rereading old favorites here too lately. My kids also love Where the Wild Things Are right before bed.

We located a couple of funny new favorites at the library. Have you read Chicken and Salsa or The Great Fuzz Frenzy? I highly recommend them both. Karen

Glenda said...

No Karen, I don't think I've read those two books. I'm writing them down and will look for them at our library trip this week. Thanks for sharing them!

Karin said...

I have the same problem getting to read to the kids here....guilt. I have been 'trying hard' to do better lately especially in light of a fussy baby who needs to learn to do something other than scream at me for attention. Might as well read to him......

AmusedMomma said...

I experienced the same problem with my now almost 8 year old. I try to assuage the guilt by having the older ones read to the younger one. It doesn't replace snuggling up with Momma and a good book, but at least it accomplishes the reading part!

We still read Goodnight Moon some nights.