A small background – Ok, so I just learnt today about the A to Z blogging challenge and it sounds like a great opportunity to get me into the groove with my blog. So obviously I have missed the theme reveal and the letter A (I shall nonetheless blog about A is for) but with this challenge I want to talk about all things baby, mommy and babyT and our life. This month is jam packed with lots of plans, events, family time, celebrations and some more plans and I think it will surely be an ideal time to be blogging about it. So here we go!
B is for Books
One of the first things I added to my shopping cart for all the baby shopping I did before I had babyT was books. 🙂 I was reading aloud to him when he was in my tummy – I used to read a book about a little bunny, panchatantra tales and of course What to Expect when you’re Expecting. 🙂 And not only me, I made sure daddy-to-be and my parents (babies grandparents) also took turns to read my growing tummy.
I knew I wanted to surround our little one with books. Inspiration came from a little boy I encountered years ago, I don’t even know who he was or his parents, but the family of 3 – mom, dad and the boy were staying in the same resort as us (a group of noisy, early 20 somethings, armed with booze, yummy food, blaring music and raucous laughter) in a beach town off Mumbai. And the whole time (long weekend so 3 days) that this family was at the resort they only read BOOKS. Mom, Dad and the son.. they just read books. At first it seemed super loony to me, but then I saw the happiness, contentment and great bond that this family shared and by the end of our holiday I knew that this is what I wished to inculcate in my little future family. 🙂
We began reading to babyT around the time he was 20 days old. The Hungry Caterpillar was the first book I started reading to him and it still is one of our favourites and we find new things to learn from it ever so often when we read it. But we actually began with reading him a black and white picture book. Babies eyes are not quite developed at birth and they can only see blurs and that too within close range, like 10 inches away from their face. So this meant we used to hold the book up close and show him the high contrast images.
Along the line we added Goodnight Moon. Now this book is a world bestseller, much debated about its eerie quotient (I have never seen it) and its magical ability to get you yawning (yes you, not your toddler) I hated the book when I first started reading it to babyT – hated the rhyme, the colours, the graphic style, the narrative and yawn.. how did that book succeed every single time to get me yawning before the end of the book? I know from my days spent loving English Literature that the book is lush with words with oo and words beginning with S and these are considered hypnagogic or somniferous – a tendency to make you sleepy. Pure genius!
Then came a torrential downpour of books – and suddenly we had a stash of almost 100 books before T turned one. 🙂 And we are proud of our stash. I wish I could do my favourite books for the A to Z challenge but that would be too limiting. But you will see a select few of our favourite authors for sure.
If you want to start reading books to your littles, here are my recommendations –
- Start early. If you haven’t started yet, start NOW. Build books into a routine – post bath cuddles with a book, a book before bedtime, a post nap accompaniment to baby’s snack break even.
- For smaller babies begin with a book that has bright colours, pictures and graphics. As less words as possible.
- Read a few books more often and every day and maybe even multiple times a day.
- Let babies touch the books, feel them, bond with them – be it with hands, feet or mouth. It is ok, no harm ever came by baby tearing a page ear and swallowing it during their mouthing phase. 🙂
- Don’t feel pressured to read what the others are reading – find your comfort, do you enjoy gardening and is it going to be available in your babies environment? Then pick a book about plants, flowers, trees etc.
- Shop local – we have a wealth of book publishers in India. Tulika, Tara books and many others. I myself am just beginning to discovering their treasures now and I urge you to choose these instead of a book about a Gruffalo or a Llama (not that they are bad but have you ever seen a Llama in your life?)
What are your favourite books to read to your little ones? I am always looking for some recommendations. 🙂