Like any parent, I want Harper to grow up healthy and happy, I want her to be respectful and care about others, I want her to feel good about herself and empowered to be a positive force in the world, but I don't think to often about anything specific I want her to be or do as she grows. I think about what she might be or do, but I want those choices to be hers. I don't want her to grow up thinking she has to be a doctor (or teacher or cab driver or physicist) because we whispered it into her ear as she slept each night. I try not to have too many expectations in this area because she's already showing me that what I think she should do is often very different from what she actually wants!
But, open-mindedness aside, I really, really, really want her to love to read. I hear busy moms say, "I don't have time to read," or, "I haven't read a book in five years," and it just doesn't compute to me. That's fine if someone else makes that choice, but I can't not read. I have been a voracious reader for as long as I can remember. Sure there have been times when it's taken me longer than others to read a book, but I'm always reading something.
We are doing the right things to encourage Harper to be a reader. We have books all over the house, she has lots of board books that she has access to, we read to her every night before bed, she sees us reading, we visit the library, etc. It has been discouraging that, during most days, she can't be bothered to slow down long enough to let me read her a book. This makes me extra glad that we worked it into her bedtime routine at an early age.
There are lots of times I wish she would take a little time out during the day and we could sit down and read quietly for a few minutes, but usually she is far too busy for this. Fortunately, even though we don't read as much as I'd like, lately she's been giving me some indication that she actually pays attention when we do read.
One of her favorite books right now is Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?. It has a nice repetitive text and features some of Harper's favorite animals. At this point, when we read that book, I can leave out about half the words for Harper to fill in for me. She always knows which animal is next, even before we turn the page. Recently, I was thrilled when a friend gave us the board book (we actually have the larger, hardcover book) because it meant we could keep one in the car. Harper loves this book so much that she has started to read it to her stuffed animals and she pretty much has it memorized.
Today she was reading it in the car and it sounded like this, "Bow beh bow beh wha see? Ah see burbe ook me." Which is actually, "Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see? I see a red bird looking at me." Pretty good, huh? But the best part was when she looked up toward me in the driver's seat and exclaimed, "Ah reereg boop, Mommy!" (I'm reading the book Mommy!) Music to my book-loving ears.
Maybe there's hope after all.