You knew having a baby would change things. Nights out on the town would be few and far between. You wouldn’t sleep much during those newborn weeks. But if you’re like me, you weren’t expecting your bookworm tendencies to be so thwarted.
Maybe you were an English major in college. Maybe you studied literature in grad school. Maybe you’ve just always been a bibliophile. But now you find yourself not having picked up a book in weeks.
But wait! That’s not true. You HAVE picked up books, they’re just not books for you. You’ve read Sandra Boynton board books till your eyeballs glaze over and you hum, “Jammy to the left, Jammy to the right” as your pour your 10th cup of coffee for the day. The Little Nutbrown Hare gets less and less adorable as you wear the pages off of Guess How Much I Love You. You find yourself sympathizing with poor Mr. McGregor who JUST wanted to grow a garden without thieving varmits running off with his produce.
Your reading list used to look like:
1. The Brothers Karamazov
2. Les Miserables
3. The Seven Storey Mountain
Now it looks like:
- Moo, Baa, La La La read approximately 587 times
- Oh My Oh My Oh Dinosaurs! (489 times)
- The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear (675 times)
- Barnyard Dance (with motions, 566 times)
- It’s Pajama Time! (955 times)
- Goodnight Moon (434 times)
- My First Farm Board Book (1008 times)
- Touch and Feel Baby Animals (899 times)
- The Amazing Alphabet Book (binding eaten during the arrival of tooth number 4, 964 times)
You’ve read THOUSANDS of books this year! They just happen to be mostly board books read repeatedly hour after hour. You are not an intellectual failure! Just mother to small children!
Will you gaze longingly at the stacks of books you’re dying to read while trying to keep your little ones alive and well? Yes. But the future awaiting you will be so worth it.
Repeating those board books ad nauseum is laying the foundation for a lifelong love of reading for your child. While you set aside that Russian novel that you don’t have time to finish and couldn’t if you tried because of this sleep-deprived season of mothering a baby, know that what you’re doing is important.
And just wait until your infant is a toddler and is ready for your favorite picture books. And then the excitement and joy of reading aloud your favorite chapter books to your little one! And then the moment when they sound out the first word they can read all my themselves. It’s beautiful, it’s important, and as you pick up Pat the Bunny AGAIN, I want to commend you and tell you that it will all be worth it.
And sneaking in a few chapters of your favorite novel during naptime, might be just the thing to tide you over!