From the day I brought you home from the hospital, I've read to you. Even when you were too young to even focus your eyes on me, I read. I would read Sandra Boyton books and chuckle to myself at their absurdity. I would read "Maisy" books and curse at their stupidity when there was no one to interact with the flaps. I'd read the "Baby's First Year" book and be sure you were going to contract every disease mentioned in its pages and look forward to every milestone that had yet to come.
I'd read as I nursed you as a tool to keep my heavy eyes open. Then, when I went back to work, I'd read as a bonding exercise, as a way to ensure a routine. You started as just a little weight on my forearm as I read, rocking back and forth on your glider. The seat was always the same size, but together we begun to take up more and more of it.
When you were seven months old, you begun really engaging with the books. You'd follow the directions in "Pat the Bunny" and make the sounds in "Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You?" And, at about nine months old, you discovered "Brown Bear, Brown Bear." First it was the animal noises, then it was cheering on the children at the end of the book. Before long, it was completing whole sentences, your enunciation getting clearer week by week.
You were one. You were two. The books got longer. You picked out the ones you liked best. I'd start "In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines lived twelve little girls" and you'd reply "in two straight lines."
Tonight, as I climbed onto the glider, you walked away and over to your own little chair. I said "Okay, Mais, what should we read?" You responded, "No Mommy, I'll read myself." And you sat in that purple chair, the one that used to engulf your tiny frame, the one that used to jump on as a trampoline, and read out to me what you saw on each page. When you were done three books, you turned to me and said "Okay, ready for bed."
I wasn't surprised that it happened. I was surprised it happened so soon.
I guess it's most fitting I end this post with a book reference. For, you see, after I tucked you in, as Miss Clavel says, "I turned out the light and closed the door." I hope that's not all there is, I really would like some more.