As an editor and writer, I knew that reading would be a big part of my baby’s life. And, yes, as overenthusiastic parents, my husband and I started reading to the bump in my belly quite early, one of our favorite books at this stage being Ma, There’s Nothing to Do Here! And when our daughter Diora was born, we read picture book after picture book to her, sometimes reading 10 books to her a day as she quietly stared at the corner of our living room wall. We took her to the library every week, taking turns reading her new books and classics.
But then something happened. As all babies do, around 6 months, she started to wake up to the world around her, and to my disappointment had no interest in being read to any more. And as she became more mobile, she would squirm to get off my lap so she could crawl around in a big pile of toys. Her only interest in books was how good they were to chew on or pull off the shelf.
Part of me thought, well, this is just a stage and it will pass so I could probably not read to her. But that didn’t feel right to me. I feel that a baby should have at least one book a day read to her, so that’s what we did. While Diora pushed her blocks over or banged her plastic rings together, my husband and I sat next to her and read picture books, hoping that at least hearing the words would somehow benefit her little mind as it grows.
And just within the last week or so, I’ve realized our persistence has paid off. As I read a book about animals to her, she came over and started pointing at each animal, making her “what’s that?” noise. And then, suddenly, she was happy to be back on my lap, turning the pages back and forth again and again, while I read to her (not necessarily in order), Kiss Good Night. I realize that as she grows, her interest in books will probably come and go, but I hope that as long as I keep books in front of her and engage her in stories and characters and pictures of bears, that she’ll one day love reading as much as my husband and I do.
Donya Dickerson is a Senior Editor at McGraw-Hill and the mom of 11-month-old Diora.