My youngest child has started reading. This marks a milestone for me, because I literally did nothing to help him. Well, okay, sure. I buy books and make them available and talk about letters and why books are good and normal parent stuff like that. But, nothing compared to what his eldest sister, my first child, got from me.
I was on her like flies on...well, let's just say I worked with her on her letters and numbers and her learning. A lot. I wasn't crazy, just a stay-at-home mom with only one kid, and nothing but time on my hands. I was of course, as a new parent, surrounded by the requisite parenting books extolling the virtues of reading to your child. Who was I to break with tradition? I read to my kid. My kid liked being read to.
Years passed, two more great kids joined our family and suffice it to say by the time little man arrived, I was so over those parenting books. We spent all our time in the car getting from one sister's thing to the other sister's thing. We did not have that time on our hands. We got in our reading at night, snuggling.
So it is through time, patience and the blessing of fantastic teachers, that my son is reading. Yay! Someday I will climb atop my never-far-from-me soapbox to tell you why reading to your kids is a good practice. But for now, allow me this indulgence.
Reading and snuggling with my new reader delights me like little else. The light bulb of awareness, excitement and joy is intoxicating. We gather up a huge pile of "just right for me" books and settle in. Since he started reading, he has a new habit. He located two of his oldest baby blankets and spreads them ceremoniously over us before we read. I ask him, "Why do you want those blankets?"
He says, "Because they remind me of when I was a baby." Which is just plain sweet. (See also: how to melt mama's heart.)
I wonder if what he's doing is holding on to his baby self. The one who needs mama nearby, the one who can't do things for himself like big readers do. His blanket ritual has him straddling two worlds. I can't help but think his blankets and his books help him make a smooth leap into moving farther and farther away from me. It's part of life, but I'll hold onto his books and blankets and him for as long as he'll let me.