Want to know what I did last night? I read my daughter a story about Easter-Egg hunting. Do you want to know what I did the night before? I read my daughter a story about Easter-Egg hunting. The night before that was a refreshing change. We read a story about Christmas Yankee Swap gifts- Backyardigans Style, a.k.a. to the tune of Jingle Bells.
Every evening before my daughter goes to sleep we read a story. I love this time of night. After the hustle of the day is over, after I’ve finally gotten her ready for bed, teeth brushed and pajamas adorned, we have a few quiet minutes together just the two of us. She gets to choose any book that she wants to read from her vast bookcase loaded with bindings of childhood wonder. There are some great books in there, some I thoroughly enjoy. But despite my best efforts, including hiding them and just short of throwing them away, I seem to be stuck in this strange Christmas/Easter vortex from which there is no escape.
I’ve tried to reason with her. “Sofia, you have so many books. Why don’t we save those for when it is actually Christmas or Easter time, so that you can really enjoy them?”
“NOOOOO!!! I want to read the Easter book!!! PLEEEEASE????”
It’s just not worth it. The one time I did hide them, the tantrum that followed when she couldn’t find her little egg book was just not even close to worth it. She does choose other stories, but these just seem to remain at the top of the batting order. To keep the peace, I pick my battles and suffer through them.
I do, however, put my foot down on the Christmas advent calendar book. It’s one of those flap books where every page hides a dozen pictures underneath cardboard pieces of other pictures. It is mind-numbingly time consuming, and she peels back each flap as slowly as possible to truly relish the wonder beneath. She knows as soon as she grabs the book that there is no way I’m backing down when she hears me snap, “NO. Absolutely not. You can read that one on your own. Pick something else.”
Sorry Kid, but I’m not sitting there going through pages and pages of a Christmas holiday flap book in the middle of August, pretending not to know where Santa is hiding despite the 100 (seriously) times we’ve already gone through it. HE’S BEHIND THE DAMN SLEIGH!!! But she’ll look under every other flap until she gets to that last one and shout out with the same amount of enthusiasm, “Oh, there he is!” Then when she finally finds him the next page has, you guessed it, 25 more flaps of presents that Santa has brought to look underneath. What gift could be next?
Screw that. I’m getting all huffy just thinking about it. That book is just begging to be tossed in the recycling bin.
So, calming down….books I love:
Llama Llama Red Pajama (Dewdney) is a beautifully illustrated story about bedtime and how to handle separation anxiety.
When Sophie Gets Angry (Bang) is a story so incredibly appropriate right now for the Mom et al household. It is a helpful tool for teaching preschoolers how to deal with their own anger.
The Pigeon Books (Willems), including Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay up Late, and Don’t Let the Pigeon Ride the Bus are short scripted and fun….although I believe the pigeon’s antics may actually be teaching my girl a trick or two.
Room on the Broom (Donaldson) is hands down my favorite. The illustrations and colors are lovely, and the rhythm of the prose is marvelously fluid. It may be about a witch, and a fun read at Halloween time, but it is not a Halloween story.
With Sofia’s birthday around the corner, I think it’s time to look for some brand new, non holiday oriented material. Suggestions are most certainly welcome!