Chapter Books and Parenting Fantasies

by Ginger on February 22, 2015

in Mom Thoughts, The Kid

Long before I had a kid, I had fantasies about certain aspects of having a kid. Idealized aspects in most regards, frankly, that included things like “my kid will always be the most well behaved in the room” and “my kid will eat whatever I give him” and the like. Actually HAVING a kid has made me laugh most of those pre-kid ideas away in the face of the realities of parenting an actual person.

One small thing that I’ve always held on to though has been reading, and specifically reading longer chapter books with my kid. I grew up being read to, and memories of my mom reading me Winnie the Pooh, or my dad reading me The Hobbit remain some of my favorite memories of childhood, and something I’ve long wanted to be able to do with Jackson. However, he is a very energetic boy who is very wiggly, and my prior attempts at reading chapter books, even short ones, have been met with resistance. I would read a chapter & then he’d never want to read another one, or he’d just bounce around the whole time, or he’d say “this is boring mommy,” especially if there weren’t full illustrations for him to look at.  I’ve tried to prime myself that maybe “reading chapter books together” is another one of those pre-kid fantasies that may not apply to my specific kid, who loves to be read to but maybe not like that.

And then…

A few weeks ago, we were stuck at home on a Sunday for some reason, and after playing superheroes and bad guys and after watching tv and after another round of Candyland, I decided to give it another shot. I grabbed a copy of Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, and told Jackson to come sit down with me, and I started to read. He let me read him 1 chapter that day.

And then we read another couple of chapters at bedtime one night.

And then we read another chapter before starting homework another night.

It was always me picking the book those days, but he listened, and got into the story, and asked questions. He helped me read certain parts, and got BIG ENORMOUS eyes at other parts.

And then today, *he* asked if we could read some more of the chocolate book before nap time, and let me read him 3 chapters.

I don’t know if it will keep up, or if it’s a fluke, but I’ll take it for however long I can foster it. It’s one of those parenting things that I’ve daydreamed about for longer than I’ve had a kid. Books have always been so special to me, and I’ve always wanted to be able to share them with Jackson this way, and it is as awesome and special as I had always thought it could be.

For however long he’ll let me, I’ll gladly share this special thing with him. Or maybe it’s more likely that he’s sharing this special thing with me.

Carmen February 22, 2015 at 2:03 pm

I had those exact same fantasies before I had kids. Now I just laugh at how foolish I was. My 8yo is very happy to listen to chapter books and has done so since he was three. We’ve read all the Percy Jackson books, many Roald Dahl books, Judy Blume & Beverly Cleary books, several Wizard of Oz books, etc. My 6yo, on the other hand, really dislikes them. The only one that we’ve made it though where she was happy to listen and actually asked me to read, was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. All other attempts have been abandoned because she whines her face off or just talks over me. You can’t force someone to listen, I have discovered.

So if you find other books that hold Jackson’s attention, please let me know. Maybe Lexi would like them too!

Tragic Sandwich February 22, 2015 at 7:37 pm

I have the same fantasies–but sometimes it’s hard to get Baguette to sit through a picture book, and my girl loves books. But it also takes her time to assimilate a book; she has to get comfortable with it, and that happens on her own schedule.

nonsequiturchica February 24, 2015 at 9:27 am

So far my daughter gets very excited about sitting in my lap and having us read to her. I hope that it continues! I was a big reader (and still try to read when I can) so I hope that she enjoys reading as well!

Marcy May 15, 2015 at 1:50 pm

Yaaay! I’m the same way about books and parenting. Well, I didn’t daydream a lot about parenting, but books was one of the things. So yes, yes, yes. Very exciting.

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