I have always loved reading. I still have copies of my favourite childhood books and enjoy nothing more than being immersed in a great story, the characters becoming friends as you turn the page and lose yourself in another world.
Reading with my kids was something I started to look forward to as soon as I knew we were expecting.
Jackson and I used to have book time where we would lie on his bedroom floor reading, signing and looking at the pictures. Unfortunately, Lily and I didn’t have quite the same quality of one-on-one reading time because, well, she had a two-year old brother.
I remember looking forward to Lily growing into her big-girl bed, thinking that I would finally have my special book time with her. I had dreams of us reading together, laughing and cuddling until her heavy eyes would finally give in to sleep. But, dreams are made to be broken and my little girl, who went to sleep without a peep in her crib, became the Beast of the Big Bed. The time we could have spent reading and solidifying our mother-daughter bond was spent in a stand-off of gnashing teeth and primeval grunting until one of us fell into a heap of sweating desperation. Ok, so maybe it wasn’t all that bad but it wasn’t the rainbows I’d hoped for.
It’s been a couple of years since our nighttime battles and I now have the story-time I’d dreamed of — most nights, anyway.
Last night I was reading Sneetches by Dr. Seuss to Lily and was shocked when Jackson asked me to read it to him as well. Usually Jackson and I will sit together to quietly read our own books so I jumped at the chance to go back in time before anything other than a chapter book was too ‘baby’.
At the end of the story I looked at Jack and told him that Sneetches was one of my favourite Dr. Seuss books, “I think it’s a really important one too, especially right now.” Without a second thought he replied, “Yeah, it doesn’t matter if we’re different from someone else, we should always show respect. So what if one Sneetch has a star on their belly, right? You should respect everyone.”
With that, I thanked Dr. Seuss for giving us stories like A Wocket In My Pocket to just have fun and be silly with while also offering books like The Sneetches and Horton Hears a Who that are still fun, but, should we decide to, can be used as a springboard for much bigger conversations.
It makes me happy to picture my kids, years down the road, looking at their own bookshelves, seeing The Sneetches sitting there with its spine torn and ragged from years of reading.