When Liv was born, there were only a handful of things that I really wanted for her. Of course, I wanted her to be healthy, feel safe, and grow up surrounded by love. I wanted her to become a compassionate, kind, polite, and confident individual. And I wanted her to love books (ok, and Broadway musicals). That’s not too much to ask, right?
So, needless to say, I can’t even begin to tell you how happy I am that she LOVES to read. I’ve always loved to read, and since I could read on my own, I’ve enjoyed reading as much as possible. I remember a trip to the lake when I was 7, and I spent the entire week reading. At the time, I thought it was the best vacation ever because I got to read ALLTHETIME without the interruptions of school or chores. Since Tom and I started talking about growing our family, I’ll admit that I had daydreams about all of the fun things that we’d eventually do together, including reading together as a family.
Reading bedtime stories to Liv at the end of the day is one of my very favorite things. We’ll snuggle up together, and she’ll ask for 3-4 books, and he or I will read. Sometimes I’ll make really bad funny voices, sometimes I read it in my normal mouse voice, and I love to look over to her face, watching and listening intently. After we turn out the lights, I can see her on the baby monitor, with her Puppy flashlight, “reading” to herself.
Some of Liv’s favorites:
-Shel Silverstein (especially “The Giving Tree” and “Giraffe and a Half”)
-ANY Pinkalicious book (her very favorite)
-the Olivia books
-Eric Carle (especially “Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me” and “Brown Bear, Brown Bear”)
-Old Little Golden books, from my mom’s collection. I love reading these, too, as the illustrations are beautiful and the stories are timeless. Maria brings in the onion-cutting ninja every time.
-Any of the Little Critter books by Mercer Mayer
With all of the amazing books we read together, there are some ridiculous ones in the mix.
Example #1: Princess and the Pea. WTFFFF. I got this for her, vaguely remembering it from my youth, and basically it’s about a prince searching for a real princess. A girl knocks on the castle doors, claims to be a princess, and the Queen puts a single pea under 20 mattresses and 20 featherbeds. The princess awakens, complains about all of her bruises and the fact that she tossed and turned because “good heavens knows what’s under that mattress!” and everyone is delighted because she must be a true princess. Only a real princess is that delicate! This is where I smack my face with the book. Tom and I spent a good amount of time explaining to Liv that a REAL princess would not have complained, and would have thanked the queen and king for their hospitality and giving her a safe place to sleep. Ughhh.
Book of princess stories. We got this for Liv, because she’s a big fan of Disney and all things princess-related. The stories are all pretty bland (“Merida’s mother is the queen. The queen wants Merida to marry the son of a lord. Merida says no. Merida is mad.”) and one of the stories is about the princesses getting ready for their perfect date with the prince. They must have the perfect dress and look perfect!! I don’t think my three year old needs to think about attire for the “perfect date.” I started to read it to her, changed the words, and was rolling my eyes the entire time.
Of course, I don’t take these things too seriously (I think we live in a culture where people are constantly looking to be offended). I’m just happy to be able to see and learn about the things she loves, which will evolve as she gets older. It’s pretty amazing, and a huge blessing, to watch someone grow up.
As far as the books go, I like to read stories that have a good message (instead of indicating it’s ok to complain about your sleeping arrangements, or need the perfect ball gown for your date, haha). Do you have any favorites to share? If you have kiddos, what are their current favorite stories? Have you ever had to change the words??