Little L is almost two years old now (I can’t believe it!), and he is very much an active toddler. Even though he still enjoys snuggling and reading together, there are times when he just can’t sit still. I’ve learned to just read through his wiggles though.
Most of our reading time takes place at bedtime, and many nights Little L is perfectly content to sit peacefully in my lap as I read him picture book after picture book. However, there are other nights when he’s just not having it. The first couple of times this happened, I tried to keep him in my lap anyway – reading was an integral part of our bedtime routine, by golly! But I eventually gave in. The funny thing was that even though Little L has numerous toys in his room, when he got down from my lap during read aloud time, he usually didn’t try to play with any of them. Instead, he was picking up other books to flip through and “read” on his own. Sometimes I join him and read the books that he’s looking at, but usually I just keep on reading whatever I’ve already started. I do this because, even though he’s looking at another book, I’ve noticed that he’s still listening to me.
How do I know he’s still listening? Well, let me give you an example. There are two different books we read regularly that mention hugging in the story. At some point, Little L started hugging himself when he saw the illustrations on these pages and heard the word “hug” – like an automatic response. Well, one night an amazing thing happened (at least, I thought it was pretty amazing). Little L was across the room looking at another book while I read one of these books. I began reading the page where one of the characters (okay, it’s Elmo) hugs another monster. As soon as I started reading on that page Little L hugged himself – several lines before the hug takes place, and while he wasn’t even looking at the illustrations. He’s pretty smart, that kid!
So, since I know he’s listening and absorbing language whether he’s sitting with me or not, I’ll just continue to read away!