A while back I wrote a post about how I was a little frustrated by my two-year-old twins’ reading habits, and how they simply weren’t conforming to Mamma’s dreamy-snuggly version of what story time should be.
I’m happy to report that now, several months later…not so much has changed. Why happy? Because their little personalities are really beginning to emerge, and it’s been fun to see how their interests diverge and meet.
While reorganizing their books recently, it dawned on me that I could chart their reading progress in terms of ages, like in prehistory or something.
First, there was the Book-Eaters Age. Archeological exploration revealed fossils of half-chewed board books and coverless specimens held together by the decaying remains of transparent packing tape.
Then came the Classics Age, marked by the twins’ complete refusal to have anything whatsoever to do with classic books I was led to understand that every child in every corner of the earth would ask for every night of their lives from birth until I wanted to hurl said books from the nearest cliff. Nope. These books are in pristine condition, with nary a tiny fingerprint or spot of drool to mar them.
Next came the popular Gotta Have a Gimmick Age, which, judging by the state of the relics uncovered, enjoyed more success than previous ages. These specimens had noise buttons for quacking and snoring, tabs to push and pull, sparkly raised insects to touch, puzzle pieces to arrange, and even music that played at the touch of a button…
…even if it seems early inhabitants might have taken the phrase “lift the flap” a bit too literally.
And finally there was the All the Rage Age, marked by a parent’s willy-nilly desire to build a library of all the most popular contemporary picture books. These are all gorgeous and wonderful and rich and funny…and to date have been read by only one person, who happens to be taller than a two-year-old.
Every night, when the boys point to this lovely stack of books, I hold up new titles with a lilt in my voice and a hopeful look in my eyes.
Ooh, you want to read about the sad fish?
Son 1: No. Muh, muh…
Son 2: No. Shebbah dado ohhhh…
Oh, the kitty and birdie!
Son 1: No! Muh muh muh muh….
Son 2: Noooo…ooo….shebbah dadooooo…
Look, it’s a bear with a hat!
Son 1: No, no, Mamma, muh muh…!
Son 2: Mamma! Shebbah dadooooo…ohhhhh….!
It’s Moon and Sheep once more; to each his own. We are smack dab in the middle of Again and Again Age, when Moon will lose his shoe every single night and Sheep will not be able to sleep ever, ever again. (At least their reading choices are from the beautiful books in the crossover All the Rage Age!)
During this age, which I suspect will last a good long while, I will continue to exclaim enthusiastically about every detail of every page in two books simultaneously, showing how to turn pages with the least amount of mangling, keeping vigilance over the drool factor to minimize water damage.
Of course, I am glad the boys know their own minds and have their favorites. But still I wonder when we will enter the New Horizons Age, when we can leave old friends behind now and then and make new ones from among the fish and owls and cows, and yes even boys and girls, who are waiting patiently in my beloved pile of picture books.
What about you? What “Reading Age” are your children in? Do you follow your kids’ leads on reading material, or do you require that they read certain books…or do you manage a combination of both?