Saturday, August 9, 2014

Reading With My Children

There are lots of reasons I read to my girls. I was going to wax eloquent about memories of reading aloud with my parents, staying up late because Dad was begging to be allowed to read one more chapter, and how that helped lead to my love of books, which has affected my life more than I can say.

But the baby is screaming, and I'm not feeling eloquent, so tonight we're going to skip all that, and I'm just going to give you these brief reading moments instead.

"Skippy Jon Jones 1-2-3" by Judy Schachner

First, it gives me insight into how my children see the world. Mari, seeing this picture of dinosaurs, started naming them. It went like this: "T-Rex! Um... lizard. Unicorn!"

And voila! We now understand that to a two-year-old, anything with a horn is a unicorn.

(See above.)

Second, I'm learning about the role of flow and patterning in learning a language. My girls are obsessed with languages, and Mari loves to count to ten in Spanish, which we always do right after this page in this book. Her counting, however, goes like this: "...seis, siete, ocho mucho poochos!" No matter how many times I correct her, I can't seem to convince her that those aren't the words for 9 and 10. The flow is just too good. 

"Llama Llama Red Pajama" by Anna Dewdney

And then there are the moments that remind me why fiction matters to me. When I read this book, I read it very dramatically, and this page is the climax, so I'm a little over-the-top by this point. Normally the girls are giggling as I whisper, gradually increasing in volume until I'm shouting the last word, 

Llama llama
red pajama
in the dark
without his mama.
Eyes wide open,
covers drawn...
What if Mama Llama's GONE?

But tonight, my dear four-year-old looked at me with big eyes and said, so softly, "Sometimes I feel that way."

Sometimes, we need someone else's characters and words to make sense of our own feelings. Sometimes we see ourselves in books--even books about a llama. 

And sometimes, I see my daughters more clearly through books. There was a little more meaning tonight as I read Mama Llama's reply:

Little Llama, 
don't you know, 
Mama Llama 
loves you so?

Mama Llama's
always near,
even if she's
not right here.

Mama's here. Reading. Cuddling. Being with you. I hope you'll remember.


  1. I totally love this. And we love Llama Llama! We don't have that one yet (but NEED it, because oh my word, that is SO KATE), but we've been reading "Home with Mama" (about being sick and getting Mama sick!) and "Misses Mama" incessantly lately. I'm hoping that if I read the latter to her enough times, she'll get the picture that Mamas always come back when they leave and maybe I can actually leave her with a sitter again without it being nonstop tears...!!!

    1. We have two Llama Llama books, but not the ones you have! We have "Red Pajama" and "Mad at Mama." I like "Red Pajama" better. ;-) We'll definitely have to pick up those others, though.

    2. How funny! We are actually going to get those soon because seriously, we need them both. Hard bedtimes? Tantrums? YES. ;) Mahon specifically bought the "home with Mama" one though to teach Kate that when you get Mama sick it's nice to be nice to her, though, since that's so very applicable in our situation. ;)

  2. What tender insights. I hope to read with my own children someday.


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