Books are for Reading
Second kids get shafted. I know this and try to mitigate it as much as possible, but the fact remains that the more children you have the more your attention will be divided. As a stay at home mom, I had all the time in the world to spend with V. Today I was watching old videos of V when I came across one of her reading. She had just turned one year old. Sitting on the floor, she proceeded to pick up a book, open it (right side up) and make pre-speech noises at various pictures. That’s when it hit me: I don’t read to Little Man.
This is his view of books:
I do read to V and theoretically he can hear me read to her, but it’s not the same thing as one-on-one. I read to her. He only gets secondhand reading. Most of the time his sister is pulling the book out of his reach, and if it’s not a board book, I’m trying to help her by keeping him restrained. He may only be nine months old, but his sister was fake reading at 12 months. It’s not that far off.
After I put V down for the night I grabbed a couple of board touch-and-feel books and sat down to read with Little Man. His reaction was incredible.
He was fucking floored. Here were these cool objects that had pictures and textures inside them. A whole new world had been opened up. We read two books and then I left them on the floor with him while I showered. Amazingly, after reading just two books, he stopped trying to eat them and started trying to open them. Normally he’s crawling all over the bathroom messing with stuff he shouldn’t. Today the book had his undivided attention.
After my shower we read two more. He kept touching the babies in the books and smacking the pictures. One book had a lion’s mane that spilled from the first page through the cover. That was fascinating.
It’s amazing the things you forget that you did with the first child. You take for granted that you’re doing a good job, or at least the best that you can. I read to V because they tell you to, even though it often felt silly or pointless at the time. It didn’t even occur to me to read directly to Little Man, yet it was obviously incredibly important for fostering V’s love of books and reading. It makes me wonder what other things I’m neglecting this time around.