About a week and a half ago I decided that I would start reading children's chapter books to Bean and I am so so so glad that I did. We started with Holes by Louis Sachar.
It was one of my favorite books when I was younger, still is one of my favorite book-to-film adaptations, and was the only children's chapter book I had on hand. lol! Every day before naptime and before bedtime Bean would crawl up into my lap, put her head on my shoulder, and I would read for 20-40 mins - until she started dozing or until I started getting too tongue tied. If you knew Bean in real life you'd know that she is a very active, always moving, talking, doing kind of toddler. I could tell she really enjoyed our time reading because she'd sit on my lap and just listen. (Sure, there are moments of fidgeting, because she's 2.5, but she'd put her head back down as soon as I asked her to. It was never a struggle to get her to listen.) We finished that book in 6 days and on day 7 we took a trip to Barnes and Nobel to pick a new book; we picked Charlotte's Web by E.B. White.
An awesome plus to Charlotte's Web, that I seem to have forgotten from when I read it as a child, is the fact that every 2-3 pages there is an illustration about what's going on at that point in the story. I decided to spend the extra dollar and buy the full color edition instead of the one with the black and white drawings and am glad I did. She is really loving this story! She loves the silly voices I read the different characters in, she loves seeing the photos, she loves that it's about animals - and I love that while it's a children's book, it uses "grown up" words. And not just the words that Charlotte spins in her web (terrific, radiant!), but Fern's parents talk to their children like adults, the animals use a wide vocabulary when talking to each other, etc. There have been a couple words that she'll pick her head up from my chest and ask, "What's that word mean?" and I try my best to explain it to her in a way she'll understand, but I don't mind - she's truly a little sponge and remembers what we teach her and she uses pretty big words when she's talking to us once she learns what they mean. We've only had the book for 4 days and we're 3/4 done. I'd say we have about 40 pages left, so it looks like we'll be hitting up the bookstore again this weekend. (I'll need to hurry up and start perusing the children's chapter books at thrift stores, or else at this rate we'll go broke buying books! haha I'm kidding... sort of.)
I love that Bean has my love of reading - it's truly an escape for me, and I've loved reading for as long as I can remember - which I attribute to my mom being an avid reader and reading to me a lot when I was young. I love that I've started this new tradition with her and she's enjoying it so much. If she didn't, I wouldn't push it on her but it'd break my heart a little bit. I love that it's something easy and inexpensive that we can - and will - continue to do together once her little brother is born. I love getting that slow-down and snuggle time with her twice a day, and I look forward to being able to reconnect with her on a daily basis with our reading once the baby comes. For a while it may only happen once a day, at bedtime, when I have Jeff home to help with the baby while she and I snuggle in the chair... but once our little man gets bigger and more self sufficient I'll be able to pick back up with it at naptime as well. Then, when the blessed day comes that they're both on the same nap/quite-time schedule I'll bring him in during our story time ritual. Or maybe I won't, maybe I'll read him his own stories in his room. I guess I'll have to decide that when the time comes, but I have no intention of stopping this new, favorite, routine with my sweet girl once her brother comes.
For good measure, here is a picture taken from her 30 month (aka 2.5 year) bday shoot. I can't believe my baby is 2.5!! I swear, I just had her a few months ago. Double the amount of time she's been in our lives and she'll be 5 years old and in Kindergarten.... that's too wild for me to wrap my mind around. *sigh*