Yesterday I got my boy changed and dressed and then I took him to the living room to play while I made breakfast. Breakfast was in the oven and I was just pulling the plates out of the cupboard when he popped up in front of the baby gate and sweetly held Goodnight Moon out to me.
“You want me to read you the book?” I asked as I signed book in sign language. He hesitated for a moment, as he always does, and then clapped his hands together once and opened them.
I climbed over the gate, took 45 seconds to read the book to him, and then climbed over the gate and worked on breakfast some more.
He sat quietly and flipped through the book himself. My husband came out for breakfast and he sweetly held the book out to Daddy too. The charade started all over again.
After breakfast his book of choice was Llama Llama, Nighty Night. I read it between doing the breakfast dishes and wiping down the counters, between wiping down the cupboards and cleaning out the refrigerator, between sweeping and mopping.
If you haven’t read this particular book, I’ll just tell you that it’s by far the shortest book we own. It is comprised of nine fragmented sentences which are spread out over 12 total pages. It probably takes about 20 seconds to read.
No matter how short it is though, I tire of reading the same nine sentences over and over again. Sometimes I want him to bring me a different book… or some other toy, anything else.
Then I think about this picture:
I think about how incredibly tiny he was when we brought him home and started reading it to him. Llama Llama and Goodnight Moon were the only two bedtime-themed books we had so we read both of those to him every night. Now they’re his two favorites.
It’s easy to get caught up in chores and tasks and to-do lists when you’re in the thick of it. As much as I’d love to sit and hold my baby all the time, the kitchen does need to be cleaned, even if only for said baby’s health. Even still, 20-45 second breaks every now and then never hurt anybody.
Once upon a time, that tiny little baby was held by one of us while the other held the book since he couldn’t support his own head or sit up on his own. Now, he walks up to us with his book and then turns around and sits down in our laps. When did that happen? I swear, he wasn’t doing that even just last week.
We’ve been signing to him from pretty early on. A few days ago our neighbors let their puppy out while we were outside playing in the grass. My boy stood up, laughed, and tapped his leg like I always do when we see a dog. I was excited about it but I chalked it up to a possible coincidence. We got inside though, and he did it again before digging around in his book basket and then bringing me a touch-and-see book called Puppy Love.
He learns something new every single day. I’m here at home with him, sometimes even sitting right next to him when he learns it, and sometimes I’m so caught up with everything around me that I don’t even realize it until my husband comes home and points it out.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, maybe today let’s all focus a little less on being right in the thick of it. Let’s read that book once more, but without the exasperated sigh this time. We’re only human, and we have things that need to be taken care of—that’s a given—but let’s focus, at least today, on reading books and building block towers and chasing short little legs around on our hands and knees.
We aren’t going to regret having waited until after dinner to wipe down the kitchen cabinets… but no matter how much we hold these babies now, it’ll eventually seem like it wasn’t even close to enough.