I literally feel I have no time to read a book, but since focusing on this week’s #bebetter52 challenge, I realize that is not entirely true. Instead of reading a book in my limited spare time, I tend to zone out by scrolling on my phone or watching my favorite HGTV shows. Because my window of free time seems so scattered, maybe I rationalize that reading books is too big a commitment. Or maybe it is because at the day’s end, I am so spent that reading is too much work. Or maybe because most of my reading material has been birthing, parenting and self-help books, I’ve forgotten what it’s like to read a good novel. Regardless of the reason, it is sad.
When my mom and I started decorating Clark’s nursery, essentially a 9 x 7 office with a door out to our converted garage, we knew we were dealing with limited space. Mom suggested eliminating a chair in the room. I told her that idea was non-negotiable because I spend hours upon hours in that chair nursing and reading books to Cooper. So many emotions are linked to that one piece of furniture: preparing for Clark’s birth; transitioning from one to two children; wondering how a sibling would affect Cooper; and, most intensely, worrying if I would survive childbirth. All of those emotions intensified when reading to Cooper at night before bed. I savored those sweet pajama cuddles while she sat on the side of my big growing belly. We would read, read and read. Often I would read another book simply because I didn’t want the moment to end.
I am lucky to have a toddler who is obsessed with books. It was difficult with a newborn at first to devote the time she wanted to read. Often I’d nurse Clark while trying to figure out a way to read books to her, but frequently she felt frustrated not being able to sit on my lap. Now that Clark goes to bed at 5:30 pm, I have about an hour and a half with Cooper alone. I commit this time to reading before the lights go off. I am convinced if I kept reading and reading, she would sit listening and listening. Most nights I am forced to limit the number of books to three. Now, on top of the books, she demands made-up stories by Mommy, full of horses, fairies and elephants, all going to the park. She fills in the gaps by using her imagination. It’s simply adorable. Instead of toys in her room, she has books: one shelf on the wall, two shelves on her dresser and three baskets on the floor. I know it might seem a little excessive, but it’s how she entertains herself when we are inside. She sits down with the book resting on her little legs, sometimes independently reading to herself, other times wanting me to read to her, and just recently, she’s started reading to Clark.
This week’s #bebetter52 challenge inspired a mid-day trip to the library. We picked up 3 books for Clark, 3 books for Cooper and her new favorite, 3 audiobooks. I noticed the audiobook section at the library a couple weeks ago and thought she would enjoy listening to stories in the car. She does. We also borrowed a CD player from our neighbor, and she listens to the narrator read the book while she follows the cue to turn the pages. She has loved the audiobooks so much I downloaded an app called Epic! You can listen to the audio books or use the read-out-loud feature where you follow along.
Cooper’s Favorite Books
Little Big Girl by Claire Keane (mommy's favorite book- where a little girl becomes a little big girl when her baby brother is born).
Big Bear, Little Chair by Lizi Boyd (Given to her by Merms when she was an infant, still a favorite)
Owl Book by Martin Waddell
Peanut Butter and Cupcake by Terry Border (Given to her by her Cousin Noelle)
The Starry Giraffe by Andy Bergmann
Time for Bed, Fred by Yasmeen Ismail ( a random library book that has become a favorite)
Good Dog Carl by Alexandra Day (classic board book with little words, so you create the story)
Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers (another great book to prepare for a sibling)
The Disney series I just picked up at an antique store sale (19 books for $5)
For years I thought reading novels a total waste of time (yes, so type A of me). It wasn’t until I started travelling that I discovered how books can magically transport a reader into other worlds. Reading can be both refreshing and entertaining, and I don’t always need to be exclusively learning or challenging myself. Sometimes one just wants a good storyline to suck you in. So, I decided this morning to find such a book. I went on Amazon and typed in Nicholas Sparks. Yup, I found a used book for under $5, and I am excited about it.
Do you have any good book recommendations?