Elliott and I both love literature, love being buried in books in the evenings, and love reading aloud to each other. While undergrads at the University of Virginia, both of us chose to mix a literary concentration (English Literature for me, Religious Studies for him) with our primary major (Nursing for me, Biology for him). Both of us love Sunday afternoon trips to Barnes & Noble, a book in bed on a rainy afternoon, and--like all good UVA graduates--the stacks of Alderman Library.
In the vein of Simplicity Parenting, we want to pass that love on to our daughter. All the parenting books recommend reading aloud to your child from Day 1. Although I can't proudly proclaim we did that, or that we read to her every day, or that we are model parents in the book department in any regard, I can say that we try. These days we attempt to read her a short board book before bed, we take her on many trips with us to bookstore and libraries, and we [sometimes] model reading by putting our computers away and pulling out our books (although not as frequently as we should).
As we put our dreams for our family into practice, I take pictures. And so here are some pictures of our little one and books.
She got distracted by the amazing rug and started rubbing her hands over it. End book time, begin texture time.
I remember one summer years ago I was babysitting while the kids' parents were out on a date. "What did you do?" I asked when they returned.
"Oh," the mom said, "we went rollerblading and then checked out the new Barnes & Noble."
My jaw dropped. "You have quite possibly just described the best date I could imagine. I want to do that when I'm married!"
And Elliott and I did do that. I'll admit it right now: the first day of our marriage we actually walked down the street from the W Hotel in D.C. and spent a couple hours in the corner Borders. Now our baby girl joins us on these dream dates of ours.
On a recent trip to Barnes & Noble, she read with her daddy about raising chickens in our backyard...
... and studied knitting patterns with me.
Lena and I also make weekly trips to the library here in San Antonio. This photo is from our trip this morning. Lena is "reading" Going on a Bear Hunt (and wearing a darling little outfit we bought her in Venice). She doesn't understand much but she likes when I read "splish splosh splish splosh" and "howhooo howhooo" and all the other sound-effect pages from that wonderful book.
I'm discovering that it must be a conscious decision to bring out books, read them aloud, encourage page touching (and tasting and chewing and bending and bruising), and inspire a love of reading from a very young age. We'll keep working at it!