April 25, 2013 by Dadinator
I will start things off by saying I am a massive reading-to-kids geek and I am also a high school drama teacher by trade. I love putting on funny voices and faces for The Lad. While I was studying teaching I had a gig as a storytime librarian in Melbourne (I call it a gig to sound cool, which didn’t work at all I know…) So I write this post from the position of someone that naturally enjoys reading to kids.
I found early on with The Lad it was hard to find things to do with him and I think it can be a common experience for fathers. The Wife had feeding as a default biologically based bonding exercise, something I couldn’t do. I noted at one stage that when it came to helping settle The Lad she had magic boobs to help her do it, while I had to fall back on rocking and walking and singing and walking some more and oh-god-go-back-to-sleep-oh-sorry-I’ll-rock-you-some-more etc… Now some say that you don’t have to do anything with a young baby, just by being with them you are bonding with them… that’s all well and good, and probably true, but somehow I wanted to be doing something other than staring into The Lad’s eyes. Maybe I am the sort of bloke who needs to keep busy, or maybe I want to share something with my son other than my presence.
For me this took 2 forms: reading and singing. I read him The Grinch Who Stole Christmas when he was only 3 months old. I doubt he followed the plot. In fact I doubt that he had the foggiest idea what was going in. I hope he felt that he had his dad’s love and undivided attention. I hope he got more familiar with my voice. I hope he found something of interest in the rhythm and rhyme of Dr Seuss. No idea if any of that was true, but sometimes parenting involves a bit of faith. I found that books also gave me a prop and a script (drama teacher, remember?) It wasn’t necessary but it made things easier.
Fast forward to today. The Lad will gladly pick up a book lying around the house and bring it to me. I sit on the ground and he shuffle-toddles his way around so he is sitting in my lap, and we start the book. He listens, turns the pages himself (at random times) points at things and makes noises which are sometimes appropriate to the page we are on and the picture we are looking at. And at the end, as his way of sucking up to daddy, I get applause, which is very cute and a lovely boost to my ego.
It’s turned into something The Lad and I (and the Wife, who reads to him probably even more often) do together. I think that’s why he loves it so much, and I think that anything you do with your kids can become that thing they love. Even before they can respond or participate they still take it in.
Those little blobs that can’t respond do actually take it all in. Its both heartening and frightening, I’m dreading The Lad’s first swear word. My point is that there is no such thing as wasted time with your kids.
PS stay tuned for picture book reviews as a regular part of this blog…