Thursday, April 2, 2015

Our Reading Lives: From Birth

I didn't have a baby shower for my son for one main (selfish) reason: I hate being the center of attention. It's the same reason my husband and I eloped and never had a reception. It's why I haven't had a birthday party since I was six.

The second reason was because we didn't need anything. We had the crib, changing pad, and rocker. We had a stack of hand-me-down clothes for every few months. We didn't want the house to be cluttered with clothes that would be worn once (if at all) or toys that would easily break, or not be enjoyed until the babe was older.

That being said, we did need want books. We have four bookcases filled with books; still more volumes are stacked in and on our nightstands. Reading is our solace and our escape. It's comforting to see so many different worlds and characters stacked around us. We wanted our baby to grow up in this same environment.

I've seen a lot of people ask for favorite books as baby shower gifts. I've seen cute bookplates on the table next to the refreshments, so you can sign your name and paste it into the book you're passing along to baby. I love the idea of knowing everyone's favorite books, period, but their favorite books from childhood? Those have so many memories tied in: who read them to you, what they made you imagine, which you requested night after night.

Even without having an adorably-book-nerdy baby shower, we've still built up an awesome book collection for our babe. We read to him in the morning, after naps, and before bed. We read to him when we get home from the library with a stack of books, or when his new Imagination Library book arrives in the mail. And we keep a GoodReads account for him the way some people make Facebook accounts for their kids. Because how cool would it be to have a record of every book you've ever read? Call me a nerd (a fact we've already established...), but I think it's awesome. We record the date and how he reacted to the book, text, and illustrations. It's informal, and we don't do star ratings because, hey - that's personal opinion, and one a ten-month-old can't yet share with us!

But I hope he appreciates the record-keeping. And who knows - maybe some of the books will become favorites, will be given high star ratings by him personally, and will one day be gifted to another at a baby shower.

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