When Carter was a baby, we read to him obsessively. I have a vivid memory of him at two weeks old, curled up between Ace and I in bed, reading Dr. Seuss' ABC's. Ace and I marveled at how attentive he was and concluded that certainly our newborn was a genius! (you know, typical new parent stuff!). I was hooked on reading to him. Its no wonder that at the age of 1, Carter could tell us the names of all the animals and their sounds (except giraffes, they don't make any sounds), and the colors. By 18 months, we were having conversations with him! Albeit simplistic. He could already sing the ABC song! Perhaps it was just his natural aptitude, or perhaps it was the endless hours of reading we did together. Who knows!
So, of course, I would do the same thing with Bennett, right?? Sadly, no. I haven't. I read to him here and there, and I know his Lolo reads to him during the day. But, I haven't invested the same level of commitment in reading to him as I did Carter. And I swore I wouldn't burden him with second-child syndrome... There just never seemed to be enough time in the day once I had two kiddos to nurture. And Bennett just never seemed to love reading the way Carter did. So, I slacked. Yes, what an awful confession.
So, Bennett is nearly 18 months old. The only words he says are "light" and "Ace." Granted, he was a very-early preemie, with chronic lung disease to boot, so speech delays are to be expected. Yet, I can't shake this sick feeling that part of that is my fault. Perhaps, if I had been reading to him every single night all this time, he wouldn't be delayed? I recently learned that the bulk of speech development doesn't start until 18 months, when they begin to learn up to 10 new words a day - I still have time to redeem myself as a mother! So, I've re-committed.
For the past month, I've been reading at least one book to Bennett every single day. I've discovered that he does indeed LOVE books. Now, when I go to the library, I excitedly scour the shelves looking for titles that will rapture him! Recently, I've discovered two books that Bennett particularly loves, and decided I must share them with you all!
The first is Pots and Pans by Patricia Hubbell. Its a sing-songy book about a little boy who makes music in the kitchen. Bennett signs "more" everytime we finish the book!
The second favorite is All of Baby Nose to Toes by Victoria Adler. The book goes through the various body parts of baby, and I kiss each part on Bennett when the books proclaims "Who loves baby's eyes? Me! I do!" Bennett squeals with delight. And toddlers looooove identifying body parts. (Although, Bennett points to his cheeks still when we ask him where his eyes are...)
You should also check out Oprah's Reading List for Babies (she has lists for all ages!) for ideas too! Reading, and the love thereof, is afterall, one of the best gifts we can give our children!