Jade has loved books since she was old enough to sit up and look at them. She’s been known to sit quietly in the “book corner” and look at books for an hour or more. Any adult who dares spend more than 5 minutes in our house shouldn’t be surprised to be accosted with a book and a head-tilted, hopeful, mono-syllabic request: “Read?”
They say that simply having lots of books around is a major contributor to giving kids an interest in reading. We have no problems there. And the girls almost always get half a dozen stories read to them in a day.
Still, I worry a bit that they are lacking in reading role models.
Sadly, they rarely see me or Michael with a book in our hands. We do a heck of a lot of reading, but more and more of it is online. Less and less of it is the carefully-crafted story, or perhaps a well-researched non-fiction book.
Somehow, perhaps because online reading is sometimes not just entertainment, but work, it is easier quell child-interruptions with a, “Not now, I’m busy.” It’s also easier to start and stop the whole online reading business amid the rest of the daily routine. Picking up a book seems to demand a more concentrated and less-interrupted effort. And that just doesn’t happen in a house with small children. At least not much during waking hours.
While I was sick with the flu last week, I read The Girl Who Played with Fire. Cover to cover. After spending a day and a half sleeping, I still had to be in bed with my sore throat, chills, and aching muscles. But I couldn’t sleep anymore, and so I read. Oh, what a luxury, to read, sip tea, read some more, and then roll over and nap when I needed to.
(I recognize that not every mom gets to have sick days, and I must just add here that I am soooo grateful to Linda and Sonja and Michael for giving exactly what I needed in order to get better.)(I totally paid for it in advance with having to take Jade to pre-op appointments and surgery while feeling like a train had run over me.)(The nurse told me I looked like crap. Nicely, but still.)
I made myself go to bed at a reasonable hour even though I hadn’t finished the book, and the next day I finished up in the living room, as the girls played. I didn’t even open my laptop. Let them see me reading a book, for once, instead of my messages, I thought.
I’m not sure I can keep it up. In real life, when I don’t have the excuse of illness, there are dishes to wash and meals to prepare, files to file and clothes to fold, appointments to drive to and jobs to go to. In real life, it’s easier just to check my messages — quickly — and dash off a reply, perhaps.
But sometimes… sometimes, let them see me with a book. How can we expect the girls to keep loving books, if they’re only good as long as they can snuggle in someone’s lap?
Mama loves books, and Mama loves to read. Sometimes… I hope they get to see that.