Thursday, December 3, 2015

Books for babies?

this pretty book by JIMI LEE

     One thing that keeps me sane as a full time mum (who isn't) is a routine. Predictable nap times and feeding times, increasingly consistent poops and evening bath times with dad. The newest edition to humblet's is of course swimming sessions, but it's getting hard with the monsoon rains. Nonetheless, as much as babies thrive on routine, mothers too need some pattern to rest, to breathe and to eat.That being said, some days are completely thrown off... They are characterised by tantrums, biting and all round grumpiness, I label them 'humblet's evil twin' days.

     A trip to the library once every two weeks is one part of this routine I love. 

Reading is a huge part of my life, perhaps it's an English Teacher thing, but I'd like to think it's books themselves that attract me above and beyond my job. In my leisure time (which has evaporated) I could spend hours curled up in bed with a book and a pot of coffee. 

When humblet came along, I just naturally incorporated books into her routine without second thought. Until friends and family starting teasing me that is. 'Can she even see?' 'Are you trying to make your child a genius?' 'Why bother?'

So I started thinking about it - why read to babies? 

Here's what I gathered - 

a. books are slow

As a new mum, many things throw me into panic mode. Leaky diapers. Screaming baby. Sudden loud thuds in the nursery. Etc. But when we sit / lie down to read, books slow us down significantly. You take time to take in each page, the words and especially with baby books, the illustrations. 

She's too young to turn the page, so my cue to turn is when she looks away uninterested which can take up to several minutes. I read each word leisurely while humblet stares hard at each page until a frown line appears on her tiny forehead. 

Recently, she's been able to hold herself steadily in her training chair with the table attached. We intend to hand her a book once she can book grasping and try the reading for herself. With supervision of course, or else I'll have lots of fines to pay for torn pages. I'm hoping that by training her to sit for ten to fifteen minutes reading at each session, sitting at half an hour family dinners will be an easy task. 

b. books are dramatic

Books that have been made into movies usually disappoint me. All the imagination in my mind's eye could not be compared to what limited humanity can accomplish, even with the help of computer graphics. (Side note: I really loved the LOTR series) 

Point being, as a reader, you have the power to imagine whatever you want and take it as far as you can go. Being a mum reader, I interject stories with onomatopoeic effects, that is, 'quack quack' or 'moo' when appropriate. Or ask her questions before I turn the page, 'what is going to happen to the little brown bear?' 

I love how I can change it each time, although I'm reading the same book again and again and AGAIN. 

c. books are free

In the library that is. 

Every two weeks, we go and pick up three to five new titles and it just never ends. Three books for humblet and two books for me. After we've read them about ten times, she continues to kick about excitedly, but I get bored and so we swap them for new ones. 

d. books are ... you can read it for yourself

The cognitive effects of reading to babies are all over the internet. Patience. Bonding. Language development blah blah blah. You can google it for yourself, while I go back to my book.


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