One thing I have done every day with N, even before he was born, is read to him. It is one of my favorite parts of the day and one I never compromise. It allows me time to cuddle up with my guy, unwind, relax, and focus only on him. We both know that no matter what else happens throughout the day, we can count on having this time together before bed each night. Even on the days we’re running from one thing to the next and we’ve hardly looked each other in the eyes, our night time routine provides regular connection and bonding.
Each night we read 15-30 minutes, depending on how close we are to bedtime. You can imagine how many books we go through! Although N could read particular books over and over, eventually mommy needs a break. So, occasionally, I shuffle them around, especially the holiday books.
Although N still loves a good board book, he is moving on and becoming more interested in longer stories. So, I thought I would share some of our favorite books right now.
I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More by Karen Beaumont
One of N’s friends gave him this book for his birthday. Before that, we had never even heard of it. But, it has quickly made it to our top picks! It’s the cutest book about a little boy who paints his feet, legs, arms, tummy and so on. Right before he paints his butt (although they never use the word) his momma catches him and throws him in the bath tub. The pages are flooded with color as he paints his body parts, walls and dog.
The Gruffalo & The Gruffalo’s Child by Julia Donaldson
We first learned of these stories through 20 or so minute animations on Netflix. Shortly after, we somehow figured out the animated movies were based on the books. The Gruffalo is about a mouse who “takes a stroll through the deep, dark wood.” Along his way, he encounters a hungry fox, owl, and snake, all who try to eat him. The smart mouse invents the Gruffalo and tells all his acquaintances how scary he is! “He has terrible claws, and terrible tusks in its terrible jaws, and knobbly knees and turned-out toes, and a poisonous wart at the end of its nose.” Each animal cowardly runs away leaving the mouse to continue on his stroll…until he encounters a Gruffalo! The mouse must then trick the Gruffalo into thinking he’s the scariest creature in the deep, dark wood so he will leave him alone. The Gruffalo’s Child is about, go figure, the Gruffalo’s child who, after hearing stories from her father of the big bad mouse, goes out to search for him. She doesn’t believe a mouse can be scary. Again, the mouse must sneakily figure out how to trick the Gruffalo’s child into thinking he’s the scary one!
Go, Dog. Go! by P.D. Eastman
Seano’s aunt and cousins gave N this book when he was born. I only left board books out in the house for the first couple years and I recently found this one on N’s closet shelf. It was so fun to read the notes inside from his cousins recollecting how much they loved the book as kids. From the moment I added it to our library, it has been a constant in our nightly routine. This book is all about dogs (one of N’s favorite animals right now). The dogs go and stop; they’re green and blue; they’re up and down; they’re in and out; and they’re asleep and awake. At the end, they have a huge dog party in a tree and the dogs are eating cake, swinging from trapezes, taking naps, reading books, jump roping, and all sorts of other things. N and I study this page and always chat about what we’d like to being doing with the dogs at this party. This page is particularly fun because you always find something new you haven’t seen before.
If You Give a Dog a Donut by Laura Numeroff
This was a Christmas present from our cousins in Denver. It came in a set with the cute, soft, little dog from the book (which has recently landed a coveted spot on N’s bed). It’s by the same author as If You Give a Mouse a Cookie but as I mentioned before, dogs are one of N’s favorite animals right now. It follows the same pattern as the mouse book; each new item the dog encounters distracts him from his prior purpose or activity. Throughout the book, the dog wants to play baseball, go on a treasure hunt, dress like a pirate and make apple juice. I especially like these books because they remind me of my toddler. At times, he will spend 30 seconds doing something before he moves on to the next project.
Tickle Monster by Josie Bissett
This book is about an alien, Tickle Monster, who comes to planet Earth to tickle. He has many favorite places to tickle but among his favorite are your tosies, under armies, and tum tum! When we read this book, we put it first in the rotation because the tickling and giggles that accompany it are anything but settling or quiet. It came with a cute pair of monster gloves that you can use when demonstrate the tickling.
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