About three months ago my brother and sister-in-law
dumped gave us a box-full of old books that their kids were no longer reading. I’ll admit, I was a little reluctant to take them. After all, the last thing we needed was more clutter in our already-cluttered three-bedroom condo. I also got a box full of puzzles, that I was equally reluctant to accept…
Lesson no. 1 as a parent: Accept timeless hand-me-downs, say thank you, and shut up. Especially hand-me-downs of the book and toy variety. The puzzles were in perfect shape, and now they are his third favorite thing to play with, only behind letters and books! And they didn’t cost me a dime. I mean, it’s not like puzzles change from year to year, and who cares if they do? We have an entire collection of Melissa and Doug puzzles, and a colorful case to keep them in. (Thanks, Michael and Kim!)
I’m sure I’ll regret saying no to the Thomas the Train table set they were trying to pawn off on us — they ended up selling it on eBay, for a fraction of what they paid for it. But where on earth was I going to put that thing when Preston was only an infant, barely holding his head up, much less playing with train sets? Whatever, I should’ve taken it from them. I know I’ll end up buying one at some point and paying top dollar for it. I repeat: Accept hand-me-downs, say thank you, and shut up.
So back to my original point. I do have one…
We quickly sifted through the boxes of books to see what we’d be ready to start reading now, and what we could store away for later. Though we already had a bunch of Dr. Seuss books that Preston hadn’t shown much interest in, Dr. Seuss’s ABC book caught my eye. All Dr. Seuss books are colorful and eye-catching obviously but this one actually made some sense, and had an important lesson in it (um, learning the A-B-C’s), and it also had a rhythm to it. Admit it: Some of the Dr. Seuss books are hard to read out loud because A) They don’t make ANY sense, or B) They have no musical rhythm to them. Most do but there are some that should’ve been left on the cutting-room floor.
I can’t say enough about this book: It’s brilliant. And it’s taught my son the alphabet. We were already starting to teach it to him, letter by letter, before we got it — but once this book entered our lives, there was no turning back. At 18 months old now Preston not only knows every letter of the alphabet, he knows the sounds they make, and the chronological order. It’s un-freaking-believable. A through Z, he knows them all.
And I have Dr. Seuss to thank. OK, and Preston’s cousins — Koby, Joe and Emma — who were kind enough to lend him the book in the first place.
Invaluable Parenting Tip: Come up with a rhythm when you read to your kids, and stick to that same rhythm every time you read the same book, and eventually he (and you) will learn the words you’re reading. I can recite this entire book by heart, which comes in handy during particularly long and crabby car rides. When I run out of nursery rhymes or silly made-up songs, I recite this book and voila! We can have an enjoyable car ride, even in maddening traffic.
Now when Preston holds up an “L,” he says “lop.” Because the rhyme for “L” in the book goes like this: “Big L, little l. Little Lola Lopp. Left leg, lazy lion, licks a lollipop.” But why bother with all those unnecessary words, when you can sum them up with just “lop”? Is he a genius, or what?
And he knows “M” sounds like “mmmm” and “mom” so every time he holds up an “M” he says, “M. Mmmmm. Mom.” Who needs an educationally based daycare facility, when you’re being home-schooled at a year-and-a-half old?