Friday, November 14, 2008

My girl wants to read all the time . . .

Molly, 18 months, wants me to read to her ALL the time. While I'm encouraged by her enthusiasm, I find it difficult to get anything done and, frankly, reading Lamaze's One, Two, Buckle My Shoe sixty times a day can be a bit much.

Sandra Boynton appears in countless reading sessions, the favourite now being Blue Hat, Green Hat. Again, reading any book thirty times can test the nerves but once I realized the intended concept being imparted, I developed an inner dialogue (a "happy place", if you will) that allowed me to keep reading.

Molly's selections sometimes surprise me as much as the fact that she actually seems to find the books she's looking for among the bookshelf unit that she shares with her sister.

They fall into two categories: books filled with objects at which she will point and label when requested and which she enjoys having narrated, as well; books with a small story or repetitive theme.

This morning -- this early morning -- began with a sweet request for the following:

She has been "self-training" for a couple of months by which I mean that I have not introduced the idea of toilet training and yet she has become impatient, no longer tolerating unchanged diapers. She even lets me know what's, er, on its way. It all started with putting things away, undressing herself, and, then, taking off her diaper. The next thing we knew, she was telling us that she needed her diaper changing and what was in it. It isn't something I've discouraged but, admittedly, I'm not yet sure where to go. It seems Molly may be pushing me in the direction she wants, anyway.

But it's good. It's a good thing. It's as good a thing as Molly using both signed and spoken language at the same time. Molly signs as a way of reducing her frustration in wanting to do more than she is developmentally capable of, such as expressing complex thoughts. (I started teaching her 'baby sign' but soon afterward switched to English Sign Language in order to give her a language that she could take beyond toddlerhood.)

Hitting was one of the difficulties we had when Molly first started trying to speak more (along with pinching, biting, kicking and throwing). Once I began teaching her English Sign Language, the assaults on me stopped! Not only has it had the intended effect, it has also increased her spoken language and she will often sign and speak at the same time as if she were bilingual (which I think she may be becoming). She loves this book.

Honestly, I've never bought into the lines of toys geared towards producing prodigies and Lamaze isn't even my favourite brand. (I actually love Melissa & Doug.) I did buy her Bright Baby's First Words and Colors because of the colours in the images and the design of the books.

This, too, when it's within reach, is requested countless times throughout the day. (I find it helpful for Devyn, too, who loves to learn to spell new words.)

In fact, Roger Priddy's books really are useful in so many ways when you realize that children of all ages love to learn if you, yourself, are enthusiastic about the process. I can barely abide the be-a-perfect-parent and my-child-is-a-sponge pressures of parenting and, generally, I would have considered these to be products of this tension-filled parenting era. But, really, they're helpful and appreciated by my children. Over and over and over . . .

As for me and my reading, it's a slow and jagged experience as I seize moments here and there. Maybe if I read on the spinning bicycle at the gym . . .

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