On “Reading” with a Toddler

The reading corner!

It’s official: my baby is quickly moving into toddler stage. Make that force-of-destruction-mixed-with-a-healthy-dose-of-Pig-Pen toddler stage. I remember about a year ago, when a friend lamented that she could never just sit down and read to her toddler. Confidently – holding my sleeping newborn and reading to my 3-year-old on the couch – I assured her that stage would pass and that hours of quiet reading bliss would arrive around the second birthday.

And now the tables have turned. I was right: her son will now happily sit still for books. My little guy is fourteen months old, and while he loves his board books, it’s primarily because they make handy projectiles or good teething surfaces. He totes them everywhere (even to bed!) and likes to look through them, but should I try to pry one away and, God forbid, actually read it to him, his little world rapidly falls apart.

So I have capitulated, and am hoping that my words to my friend come true for me again, too. In the meantime, I occasionally chase him around, reading aloud while he plays. I read a lot to his sister, in his presence. I talk to him, listen to podcasts and NPR with him, and generally try to speak like he’s a grownup. Books are some of the primary playthings out in our living room. I try not to interrupt when he is paging through them.

My Great Surrender

And: I broke down and bought him a copy of  Ten Little Ladybugs – a book that  is enormously short on plot, interest, or really anything except these raised ladybugs that both of my kids have been fascinated with touching. My daughter’s copy was one of the few board books literally loved to death in our house, and it was the first book she ever let me read to her. I love to give and receive beautiful, true books as baby gifts, but — this is the one that actually got my daughter hooked. If I listen hard, I think I can hear God chuckling.


One thought on “On “Reading” with a Toddler

  1. Is that Mr. Brown he’s holding? You should hear my Dibble Dibble Dibble Dop! Onomatopoeia at it’s finest! I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when I discovered that in addition to the board book version we own the unabridged in hardcover. 🙂

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