All week long, we've had some new routines at the lil' dude's house.
Firstly, the lil' dude's Grandpa W. made her a stool for the bathroom. After her bath and pj's, she will stand on her stool, brushing her teeth, splashing in the sink, and drinking from a big girl cup until Mama closes down the fun. Tears ensue.
To distract her, I redirect to her bookshelf where I tell her to pick out the book we will read in the rocker. Up until now, the Dad or I have picked out the books to be read at goodnight. The lil' dude is delighted to no end with her new freedom. She scans the rows of books, her finger trailing along the spine of each book ... trailing and trailing until it rests on the two books she's wanted to read every night this week.
And these books are the best choice if I'm the one to re-read them over and over. I have yet to tire of them, their amazing simplicity and gorgeous art. After she received these books for her first birthday (WINK, FAIRY GODMOTHER, WINK) I fell in love with Charley Harper, and have stowed away memory games, a puzzle, and a tiny t-shirt all bearing his work for the lil' dude as she gets older.
The lil' dude, she's become quite the mimic-er. When we speak, she'll study our lips and try to emulate the same sound. Charley Harper books are great in that they're simple. A is for Ape. N is for Nest. Z is for Zebra. With each page we turn, the lil' dude quietly tries out the sound on her own tongue. Ape ... Nest ... Zebra. We make sure to go slow, so she can carefully point out all the things on the page which intrigue her. She's in love with Charley Harper.
When I was a kid, my all-time favorite book was Mean Mouse and Other Mean Stories by Janice May Udry. Published in 1962, I can't even find the cover art online to post here. My grandma's best friend (and my mom's namesake) was a teacher, and every summer she would haul boxes of books to Grandma's for the kids and grandkids to use. I remember all those books, their musty, wonderful smells, and writing my name in pencil in the library card in the back. That's where my book came from. Together with my aunt R., my grandparents claim to have read Mean Mouse and Other Mean Stories to me well over 200 times. More than five years or so ago, I went through every single book left at my grandparents' looking for Mean Mouse and Other Mean Stories- my book was gone. I was so sad.
Then, I had a birthday, and tucked inside tissue paper from Grandma ... Mean Mouse and Other Mean Stories, my original copy, complete with my name in the back. She had spotted it in a heap one day in the playroom and in a flash of nostalgia, grabbed it and put it away. Today it sits proudly displayed on our entertainment center with our wedding photos and other precious memories.
I haven't read Mean Mouse and Other Mean Stories to the lil' dude yet. She'll have her own version someday ... maybe it'll be Charley Harper even then.