You’ll excuse me if this post is a little sentimental and nostalgic, right?
We’ve passed a milestone here at the House of Hope. As of Saturday, I am no longer a nursing mother. Our usual morning routine for the past many months has been for me to get the DLM out of bed around 8 a.m., change his diaper, and then sit in the rocking chair beside his bed for him to nurse. We’ve followed up the nursing session by reading several books for many weeks now. Having practiced child-led weaning with my girls (who weaned themselves at 11 months and 15 months), I really had no idea how much longer this would go on and what weaning would look like for the DLM, my best nurser yet. For the past couple of weeks, the DLM would say “book!” in the middle of nursing, and sometimes even before. He’s twenty-one months old and is really exerting his self-hood: if it’s books he wants (and it usually is–he has an insatiable reading appetite already!), it’s books he insists upon. And so the end of nursing happened almost accidentally. Just when I’d settled into weaning him who-knows-when, I realized on Monday that he hadn’t nursed since Saturday morning. Thinking it wise to take advantage of the situation, I suggested a book to him on Monday morning, and he never even mentioned “going night-night,” his code for nursing. On Tuesday he suggested “night night” once, but he chose reading over nursing without a backwards glance. It’s a little bittersweet, of course, this ending of one more little piece of his dependence on me. It makes it a bit easier that this transition was accomplished through the love of reading.
He most assuredly knows what he likes. A book he couldn’t get enough of last week might be met with a definitive “NO!” tomorrow. The books pictured above mostly came from the basket in his bedroom, so they’re the ones we read the most often, with a few notable omissions. Most of these books are hand-me-downs from the girls, which is nice for me, of course. I like remembering reading them to the girls and the building of the family culture that follows. What’s even sweeter to me is that the girls read them to the DLM, too.
I won’t bother with mentioning all of the titles above. Maybe it’s because I’ve read all of these so many times, but I feel like surely everyone and her sister must know them all by heart like I do. I do want to mention a few special ones, though.
I picked out Chugga-Chugga Choo-Choo on a whim for a little Valentine’s Day gift for the DLM, and it has been a winner (well, up until today, when he positively refused to listen to it ). Kevin Lewis is the author of this sing-songy, rhyming little board book full of all sorts of locomotive action and fun. I love that the book ends with “Good night, engine, safe and sound” instead of the engine black and red caboose careening wildly about the track up until the last page. (In other words, it’s a good bedtime story, too.) I think we need to add more of Kevin Lewis’ books to our decidedly vehicle-sparse collection. Daniel Kirk’s illustrations are bright, colorful, and graphic, perfect for a toddler. The DLM (sometimes) and I (always) give it a Highly Recommended.
Another favorite of mine is one I bought specifically for the DLM, and it’s the only other book that I can think of that we own that’s about a motorized vehicle. Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle is also about a bunch of animals, and which just adds to the toddler appeal. Of course, I’ve already said that.
“I want my mommy!” said Bill,
he would turn around and give me a big, tight squeeze around the neck. Every single time. Now I’m more likely to get a grin than a squeeze, but I’ll never forget that sweet phase or this precious book. I love it.
It’s not long before this. . .
turns into this. . .
What’s your favorite, favorite book from your children’s toddlerhoods? Please share!