But there was one area that I did worry about once I had cracked the physical care stuff like bathing her without drowning her and making sure she didn’t starve to death. That area was in her mental development – after all this was setting her up for the rest of her life, wasn’t it?
And so I became deeply anxious about reading to my baby. Those anxieties could be distilled down to two key questions.
- Am I doing this “right”?
- Is the book age-appropriate?
Am I doing this right?
I was extremely anxious to perform my part during the “mom and baby reading time” – in a word – perfectly. So I researched it and came up with a long list of things I was supposed to do. These included enunciating clearly, using different voices for different characters and trying to maintain eye contact with baby (whilst reading).
In the end I discovered that none of that mattered as much as cuddling my little girl and watching her fascination with the pictures on the page (or screen) and how those chubby little fingers explored the book.
Is this book age-appropriate?
I can laugh now when I think how much energy I spent on finding the “right” books. The reality is that it really doesn’t matter at all what you read in the early days as your baby is just loving the sound of your voice. Later I found that my baby had a few very firm favorites and that she had no problem with listening to the same story 53 times in a row.
Happily we are past that now, although I do still have moments when I worry about whether the books we are reading are age-appropriate. (Usually I vacillate between “Is this too hard?” and “Is this stretching her enough?”) But I have – happily – learnt to treasure our reading time not just for the stories but for the physical intimacy.
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