Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Reading Wars

So apparently I am a bad mother and have not been reading enough to my son. While we are confessing sins I'll also own up to the fact that I don't brush his teeth twice a day every day :/ It's hard to remember sometimes. Anyway little man is 15, almost 16 months old and not talking - at all. At his 15 month check up his doctor expressed concern that he wasn't speaking. She's not expecting him to greet me every morning with a "hello mother, let's have a wonderful day" or anything but she says he should be saying 3-6 words by now. When he was 6 or 7 months old he said mama for the first time and by 8 months he had stopped saying it entirely. I heard a dada yesterday but it was jumbled into all his other random babbling and I know darn well he isn't really saying talking about daddy. The doctor says he should be saying mama and dada and with purpose by now. Anyway she says I need to make sure he hears 5,000 words a day no clue on how I should count to make sure haha but hey I'm a GIRL I can talk up a storm! I am also supposed to be reading tons of books to him. The paperwork she gave me she wrote 20-30 books... I sincerely hope that was a typo and she meant something more realistic. We don't even own 20 books, unless we want to start reading trashy Christine Feehan romance novels. I like them but somehow vampires and sex doesn't seem age appropriate for a toddler. (Dear Mrs. Feehan PLEASE, please hurry and write Skyler's story!! The wait is killing me!!). I cannot even imagine trying to read that many books in a day? Am I the only one out there that doesn't/cant do that. Gosh, that would be almost a full time job. Yeah, sure Doc I'll get right on that right after I do my real job, and all my housework, cooking, and general parenting chores. Wonderful.

So because I felt like a parental reading failure I got started right away with the new reading regime and tried to add extra books to our routine. Previously reading has consisted of picture books with one word to each page and us pointing to and talking about the photos. That's not good enough I guess. Anyway, I sat down on the floor that very day with a copy of The Very Busy Spider totally sure Nicholas would be thrilled and in heaven to have more reading time. I was wrong. He wanted no part of it. Great. I chased him around with the book for 15 minutes before I just gave up. No worries, we'll try again later. I tried again later with the same result. This went on for days. Yay, motherhood is "fun". I tried reading to him in the bath tub and he threw water at me. I tried reading to him in his highchair and he fussed b/c he wanted to do baby signing time. I tried touch and feel books, colorful books, rhyming books, musical books, you name it, and I tried it. Nope nothing seemed to change our routine of looking at a book for just a few minutes at a time and pointing out photos. I decided I would even try to just MAKE him sit down and read a book with me. That was fun. He kicked and struggled and pulled my hair. Yay.... :/ He ended up upside down in my lap me holding onto his hips holding the book out in front trying to yell the words off the page so I could be heard over his loud protests lol. This isn't working!!! At my wits end I couldn't help but wonder how I was supposed to get additional books into our routine when I couldn't even get him to sit still for ONE. I want to cry lol.

The breakthrough came about a week later. At the same time as we were trying to introduce more books and a set in stone story time we were also weaning from the bottle to a sippy cup before bed. Up until this point in time Nicholas has "nursed" himself to sleep, except since I don't have any milk anymore he was using a bottle. Not the best habit but you know what, BITE ME. With Nicholas you take whatever you can get and you are thankful for it. As it turns out story time was the perfect substitute for bottle time. It wasn't easy at first but day after day the habit of reading a story or two (or three or four) before bedtime became stronger and the bottle was forgotten just as easily as it had been introduced in the first place. Nicholas wouldn't always sit still but I found that standing up and walking around the nursery with him in one arm and the book held our in front of us with the other was helpful. My hair became less of a plaything and the pictures in the book became more interesting. He especially likes a peek-a-book book probably b/c of the little pages within a page that you can turn and see what it hiding. The colorful tabs on the books pages are also a hit. :) It was a HUGE relief the night we sat in the antique maple rocker in the nursery and read four whole books and he still wanted more. I wanted to cry then too. Ahhhh, the sweet smell of  SUCCESS!  ugh... wait a second.... I think that's the diaper genie. :/ Anyhow, I tried to put Nicholas down for a nap yesterday without reading a book first and O.M.G. he threw the mother of all temper tantrums. Seems like my little active can sit still for a story toddler has turned into a book lover after all. I gave in and read him a story, which just happened to be The Going To Bed Book. :) Our reading list is a bit short at the moment and we read the same stories over and over again. He, ironically, will NOT tolerate the old picture books with one word per page. That's a recipe for a quick temper tantrum. He really prefers the touch and feel books and the books with story's that rhyme. Anything with actual photos of people or animals is also a big hit over books that are illustrated. I need to head out to barnes and noble and sort through some inexpensive board books I noticed they had the last time we were there. His next favorite book, and my LEAST favorite is a veggie tales books he got for Easter. It has a button in one corner that you can press and hear a REALLY off key, sounds like somebody is strangling the singer, verse of "God make me special" which is what the book is about. He won't actually let me read him the book so I guess that means he doesn't care if God made anyone special lol, mostly he just pushes the button. Over, and over, OVER again! OMG! I'm hopeful that the batteries in that thing are everlasting lol. This morning he picked up a copy of Dun dunnn duuuunnnnn The Very Busy Spider and came running to me with a big huge grin. I love it when I win :)

Side note; we've been reading and reading and reading and even making him watch your baby can read and talking and talking and talking for a month now. No change in verbal skills LoL. He is no closer to forming actual words than when we started and not to say what we've been up to isn't a good thing, I'm just pointing out that it's not helping with anything other than bonding. Lord knows he's certainly already well bonded to me. :P That's not to say he's quiet either, Nicholas has a lot to say but he's going to use his own language for now and as far as he's concerned his doctor can kiss his ragababe!  :p

Second side note: We are always open to suggestions for good books for kids under 2. We need more and more and more! :D

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