Book Club (seven)
Happy Fri-yay! I don't think I like that term really, but I do like it more and more as I use it...haha! We just closed out a work-free work week with Baba! The blessings of being married to a person in education! SUMMER BREAKS! What a treat that we get Baba home with us! What a treat for mama to get time to tackle a list of home errands and hopefully utilize this time for some self and relaxation too.
Speaking of relaxation, the girls don't hit the hay without a little nightly reading. Do you guys out there tend to read at night too or throughout the day?! "Booook!" That's Arlo pointing feverishly at a book from the back seat and her hard "k" is just the faintest whisper. The sweetest little voice emerging from this one!
Reading...reading... I have to admit we haven't made it to the library AS MUCH as I would like to. It seems we get to the library more in the colder months. Although, we just returned two canvas bags of twenty or so books so when we DO go, we STOCK UP. I should definitely keep a log of our favorite rentals because sometimes it is sad to drop those special ones off.
Regardless of library visits, there is ALWAYS reading before bed. We have never skipped it. Can't skip it. Part of the routine. As much as Baba says it is "wiring them up more," and thinks I need to shift our daily reading to day time, we can't get away from our stories before bed. This time, I thought I would share a couple tips that we do to implement a nightly story time routine for two kiddos of varying reading levels, AND attention spans as well as sharing some of our favorite private book collection reads.
My girls are 16 months apart, so reading time can be tricky. I know so many mommas out there in the same boat, or about to join me on this crazy cruise of raising two, (or more!) Time balancing between two is not easy. You will find a rhythm, build a routine of your own, and know who to attend to first when both are waling. Hmmm... possible chipped tooth from a skid down the front porch or toddler about to run down the driveway into the street? Like I said, not easy, but instincts handle most of the guessing. My instincts STINK a lot of times probably, but we do alright!
So reading for two. Arlo requests her faves, mostly "Snuggle Puppy" by Sandra Boynton and "Not a Box" by Antoinette Portis. Remy snarls and slithers off my lap sometimes and has no interest in listening to these and starts to squirm and tries to throw a fit. I have learned to say, "Okay, then you can sit over there and listen, or you can look at another book until we're done." Ten times out of ten, I start reading to Arlo on my lap, and here comes Remy, one sentence in to squeeze onto my lap too.
SO, what to do when you're ONE momma and they BOTH want YOU as their storyteller. Well... I convince Remy to sit back down and listen to the couple "little" books for Arlo, and I let her choose one book that we all will enjoy, and then I read another one, or two, sometimes MORE if she's really wired up and demanding, after we take Arlo to bed.
Usually we start with two smaller books like the ones mentioned above, or we like the Little Critter books with flaps like, "Where's Kitty?" and "Where's My Sneaker?" A BIG favorite requested by both of them lately has been the classic, "Goodnight Moon." They love to find the mouse, and they finish the lines. Even Arlo chimes in with, "Hushhhh." Actually, Arlo will try to find the mouse, and usually does, pointing her little pointer finger and saying, "Der he izzzz..." Then Remy looks at Arlo and smashes her slightly bigger, but barely, little pointer finger over the mouse and covers him up until Arlo loses it. Then Arlo fusses and whines and shrieks, and I turn the page and continue.
Then, we read a longer length book. Something like, "Giraffes Can't Dance" by Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees or "Color Dance" by Ann Jonas. Both of those books we have in the paperback versions. The library was giving away copies of "Giraffes Can't Dance," and Remy's art teachers gave her a copy of "Color Dance" on the last day of her session which was really sweet.
Next, I usually call for Baba to come take Arlo to bed and we all kiss her and say, "Goodnight!" I stay with Remy and those two have their own little special nightly routine of eating a banana and drinking milk, she likes to put it back in the fridge. Side bar: It is so funny when you build these little regularities organically and then the other person is absent and you find yourself as the filler-in. One night I took Arlo to bed and I grabbed and peeled a banana for her. She kept saying, "Nana! Nana!" She was pointing a the basket. I was holding a peeled one for her to eat. I was getting frustrated and said, "This! Tis is a banana!" I gave up and took her to bed. That night was one we call a "rough landing." She cried for a few minutes before going to bed. Turns out, Baba and her had a game with one unopened banana while they shared another. Whoops! Anyone else out there have crazy things like this?! So funny!
Some nights during stories, Arlo is rubbing her eyes and limp as a noodle on my lap when he comes. Some nights she is squirmy and alert and trying to run away from him and she kicks her little feet as he picks her up. And some nights, when husband is working, I have to leave Remy in the reading chair and close the baby gate, we have a baby gate on her room still, I take Arlo down to her room, and then I come back up to "polish off," Remy with HER stories. A balancing act. Sometime Arlo will be crying downstairs and I have to go soothe, or we read over the noise until she doses off. Sometimes I am downstairs tending to Arlo on my own and Remy follows and comes in throws a wrench in things. Hence the baby gate.
Storytime can make for a longer night, especially after you are beyond SPENT already, but we all enjoy this time very much, and since we are sort of on the go during the day and we don't get much reading in then, it is essential we spend this time together reading aloud. And heck, who am I kidding, I get to exercise my performance skills and totally play up storyteller with voices and inflections!
Here are a few of our favorite books lately!
Left to Right, Top to Bottom
"Splat the Cat," by Bob Scotton- The illustrations are superb. The way he phrases things, so funny. Just look at those googly cat eyes! Fun, silly reads. We also loved "Splat Says Thank You."
"Spoon," by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Scott Magoon- A cute little tale about how to appreciate our uniqueness, like this little guy's ability to spoon with his parents and dive into ice cream sundaes!
"Thomas and the School Trip," by Rev. W. Awdry and Owain Bell- Both girls have been really into Thomas lately! We found this at the thrift store but I love this book because it is for early readers so it is super short, and the words are small and repetitive and I am starting to sound out letters and spell common words with Remy as we read.
"Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy," by David Soman and Jacky Davis- Remy just recently received two Ladybug Girl books and she LOVES them! Thanks Alex!!! This one is really cute about playing with others and finding likeness in games. Also hints at using imagination at play.
"The Day Jimmy's Boa Ate the Wash," by Trinka Hakes Noble and Steven Kellogg- A cute one we found at the thrift store. A cute little chain story about a girl who went on a class trip to a farm. Basically the book starts with a question from her mom about her day. Cute!
"One," by Kathryn Otoshi- SO GOOD! Remy loves this one, and so do I! Colors, numbers, and a really good morale.
"How to Babysit a Grandma," by Jean Reagan and Lee Wildish- Darling! Cute illustrations. They also make one for grandpa that we want to get. My favorite part is the end when she says the hardest part is saying goodbye to a grandma... GULP!
"Steam Train, Dream Train," by Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld- Another gift from our friends, Alex and Lucas! We had not read this classic, but it is quite a hit! A sweet tale also about imagination and what happens after play during the night with a young child's toys.
"Leonardo, the Terrible Monster," by Mo Willems- We HEART Mo Willems. We want them all! This one is also a cute tale about friendship.
What are your faves?! Share win the comments for us and others to discover!