I was solo-parenting on Thursday night while Dan was away on a work retreat. I was absolutely dreading bedtime, knowing how my kids choose their bedtime behaviour based on which parent is dealing with them at the time.
If I’m out and Dan’s parenting alone, they’re angels at bedtime. If I’m around though – well, they fight me every step of the way. I was watching for ways to make the night go smoother than normal.
As we finished brushing our teeth, the boys asked that we read books in my bed. Normally we read books in their bedroom while I fight to hold their attention and they fight against sitting still. There really is no reason not to read in my room, and I figured that it could actually be the key to helping them calm down before bed, since my bed is so far off the floor (compared to their floor beds, which probably encourages extra running around at reading time).
The boys picked their books and we crawled onto the big king bed. The pillows were propped just so and I sat in the middle of them with a boy on either side. It was nice – not only did we have dedicated reading time (where we mostly stayed on task) but also dedicated snuggle time, which is a rare combination in my household.
As I looked down at the book that I was reading, I couldn’t help but notice my growing belly. In fact, I was having a hard time finding a comfortable way to hold the hard-covered anthology of children’s stories because of the pregnant belly. The boys laid their head on my belly and even spoke loving words to their new baby sibling a few times. As I read the words on the page, I couldn’t help but wonder what the baby was retaining. By 16 weeks gestation, babies are able to hear the outside world, and I was 19 weeks along. I expect that the baby will be born recognizing his or her brothers’ voices since they’re pretty much all anyone in the house ever hears anyway. But what about these stories I’m reading?
I remember being encouraged to read to my pregnant belly when I was pregnant with my first. It felt so odd though. By the time Cameron was born, we still didn’t fall into an easy story-time routine. It takes long enough to understand the importance of any routine with your first child, let alone fitting in something like reading, that logically is very important but kind of seems extravagant in the midst of so much exhaustion. Some nights we wouldn’t read to Cameron. Other times we’d read only one book. I felt guilty for not reading more, worrying that I was already failing at such a crucial thing.
Our bedtime routing became a little more firm once we started working towards healthy sleeping habits and we became even more rigid as we moved my big boy into a big boy bed. We knew that bedtime needed to be consistent and that reading books needed to be included. By the time Gavin was born, Dan and I had trained ourselves to read (at least) two books at bedtime, and Gavin was lucky enough to be part of most of those story-times, even as newborn. At two years old, Gavin went to bed tonight with a stack of books on his pillow and one in his hands. I wonder if his love of books has anything to do with being born into an already established story-time ritual.
While reading seems like a pleasure, and I certainly dreamt about spending my days reading to my new baby, it can fall out of priority in those newborn days when surviving is the only goal. But books are an easy and educational way to keep babies entertained. Through reading to our little ones often, we teach them about new ideas and objects. Some of our favourite books for the babies are books that encourage playing games like peek-a-boo or pat-a-cake. My two and four year old are still very engaged with touch-and-feel books, which are a great way to teach the newest babies, and engage older ones who don’t want to sit still. (It also provides a great opportunity to practice vocabulary with older children. “Explain to me what that feels like…”).
I think our third baby will be the luckiest of all my children. This baby will not only be born into an environment where reading is a daily and important activity, but this baby is already starting to experience that even birth.
Disney Baby wants to encourage reading in every household. One of their suggestions is to use interactive books like pop-up and slider books. “When You Look Up” is a book that will start teaching older babies concepts like up and down.
I’m a Disney Baby Mom and as such, I was sent a sweet little product bundle this month which included a Winnie The Pooh bath-time wrap, a Mickey 5-piece clothing set (sized 0-3 months), a Winnie The Pooh Clip on Rattle and a water bottle (ours is Cars themed and Gavin adores it). I am thrilled to announce that I have the second bundle to giveaway! (The giveaway bundle includes a Minnie 5-piece clothing set instead of a Mickey one). To win, simply fill out the giveaway app below. I’ll choose a winner on September 1st.
I am a Disney Baby Mom which means I am sent blogging topics and great Disney products for baby.
The post The Importance of Reading with Kids and a Disney Baby Giveaway appeared first on Mommy Miracles.