You know that kid you grew up with who spent every recess reading? Who was too excited to go to Chapters on the weekend with their Mom? Who spent all their allowance and free time shopping for or reading books? That kid was totally me, or at least someone I would have really liked to hang out with.
I have such attachments to the books I read growing up that even smells can remind me of favourite chapters or how I felt reading them. For instance, lemon scented car air fresheners remind me of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Why? Because I was reading that book in my parents' Mustang on the way to a neighbour's cottage and there was a lemon air freshener in the car. I remember the way the sun felt on my arms and how warm the breeze was coming in the windows. I remember the way my stomach tied itself in knots as I read about the mermaid challenge. When I smell French toast I think of Ana Karenina because I read that book at my first boyfriend's house and his Mom always made us French toast after school. I remember the way I had to go through all the crazy Russian names in my head before I continued to read it every time I picked it up again.
I was really shy growing up and loved to lose myself in the worlds my books created for me. I didn't need to be brave or daring when characters in my favourite novels could do the adventuring for me. I was happy to follow along from the safety of my bedroom. Reading also took me away from reality when life was difficult or when I was avoiding making serious decisions. The last trimester of my pregnancy I read five books. I was a LITTLE stressed about becoming a Mommy. Ha!
I hope that Abigail loves to read as much as I did and still do. I hope she finds solace within the pages of a great classic, and can curl up between her Dad and I in bed and listen to our favourite fairy tales. I can't wait to read her the Harry Potter books, or classics like Jane Eyre and Peter Pan. I'm excited to use voices and accents and be as dramatic as possible. I can't wait to ask her what she thinks will happen next, or how she thinks the characters feel. I want her imagination to be more important to her than screen time. I want books to expand her mind and keep her dreaming.
When Abigail was a month old we started reading to her before bedtime. By the time she was three months old she was listening to two or three books a night. Really listening. Like she looks at the pages and reaches for them. For Christmas my Mom and brother both recorded her storybooks. She listens to them all the way through, smiling when she hears their voices. I cry every time.
Right now we are getting most use out of our board book collection; those things are sturdy and can handle little people trying to turn pages and knocking them off the table. The books pictured are our current favourites, available at most book stores and totally ones I'd recommend as baby shower gifts!