Pursuant to that Wednesday post about reading to baby, here’s a somewhat chronological list of what we’ve been reading to EV6 in the first month of her life.
I know that over time it’s going to be important for her to hear short, digestible stories with small, distinguishable words – and we’ve got plenty of those lying about. However, an adorable 20-page book that I can read in four minutes really isn’t serving me to well in the “reading to baby” segment of my day right now. The point is more for her to hear one of our voices, steady and ongoing, until she calms down, gets bored, or falls asleep, depending on the situation.
Honestly, we could just be doing a mic check for twenty minutes. “Baby, one two. Baby, hey hey hey. Baby, chic-ah, shhh, chic-ah, one two.”
I’ve also gotten in the habit of reading Wikipedia’s pages aloud whenever I hit a concept in my constant monologuing to her that I can’t explain, like why a living room is called a parlor. I see this as preemptively equipping myself for the litany of whys we’ll be experiencing in a few years.
We actually started this one in the womb. E had read that reading to a baby in utero in a calm, quiet environment was a good way for it to learn your voices. She also read that the fetus could track light sources at a certain point, which lead to a hilarious sequence of me shining a flashlight on E’s pregnant belly while I read Vogon poetry. Now that EV6 is an actual baby, she doesn’t like this as much, despite my switching to the illustrated version. Generally, she doesn’t prefer things interrupted by too much dialog, especially given the fact that I cannot help but do crazy character voices throughout.
As noted on Wednesday.
EV6 doesn’t always latch on to this when I start, but when she does she’s hooked for an entire canto. My reading is complete with my personal cliff notes on every canto. E thought I was reading them from somewhere! Nope, just used to be really obsessed with Dante in a sort of defense about how hating Shakespeare did not make me stupid.
Sendak never fails. Also, I do some narrating of the pictures.
In week two I was freaking out that we didn’t have enough high-contrast black and white images available to develop EV6’s vision. E has this huge set of Time Life photography books, so she picked the one packed with the most images for us to page through and read excerpts from. Some of the photos were pretty depressing, but EV6 did pay attention almost the entire time.
A surprisingly nationalistic choice, for me. I’m not sure why I selected it, but E said my reading was “unexpectedly moving.”
I have these committed to memory on some subconscious level such that I kind of skim the words on the page and just recite the story. That makes a certain amount of sense, I suppose, since that is how toddlers “read” books, and these are books I heard A LOT when I was a toddler.
Also, I unfailingly cry whenever I read (or sing) Pierre.
Edna St. Vincent Millay poems (from the illustrated versions in Graphic Canon, Vol. 3)
She loved these! Millay is a little more mirthful than Plath.
Gaiman’s Blueberry Girl
Short and cloying, but so wonderfully positive that I can hardly fault it. (Also, this was written for Tori Amos’s daughter, and I quite clearly recall when she was born during my sophomore of college, so it tends to make me feel old.)
An E pick, and an EV6 fav, so far.
This held EV6 at rapt attention for it’s entire duration. I always marvel at how modern and terrifying it is for something published in 1899.
E just started reading these to her.