Story time before bed is usually Daddy's time with Ivie, while I nurse Macie. But since Dale was out of town the last five nights, I've gotten the pleasure of snuggling with Ivie in her rocking chair for "two books" each night. Like most toddlers, I guess, she gets into ruts with her book selection, choosing the same ones over and over for nights on end, before finally deciding to mix it up.
Well, the book-of-choice these days is "365 Stories for Little Girls". Ivie calls it "Mommy's book", because it happens to be one of the ones that got taken out of her room after the book episode I described in my "Respecting Books" post in November. So when she found it in my hiding spot in our guest room a few weeks ago, she brought it to her room and added it back to her bookshelf. I think she's learned her lesson about taking care of books, so we're using it as a test case before bringing any of the others back into the rotation.
As the title describes, this is a really thick "big-girl" book (read: paper pages, not board) with a lot of stories (365 to be exact, though some of them are short poems). Not a good bedtime book, because there's obviously no way that you can read it all before bed, even though Ivie really tries to get you to flip through one page at a time, as you can with her other toddler board books. I have to draw the line at reading 8 pages of a Table of Contents!
Anyway, the past five days were my first experience with trying to read this book before bed in a manner that was both appropriate in terms of time spent, as well as sufficient to meet Ivie's specific demands as to how books should be read before bed. I must admit that it's a bit overwhelming. How in the WORLD do you read to a toddler a book that is written for school-aged children who can actually sit still and listen while you read hundreds of words on each page?!?
My solution will not surprise you. You DON'T. Instead, you pick a sentence or two on each page, preferably ones that include some action. Or you describe what is in the various pictures (thank goodness there are at least pictures in this book - try reading the New Testament to your child from one of those mini-bibles when she chooses it off of her bookshelf at bedtime!).
But even taking this route is still overwhelming sometimes. There were more than a few times in the past several days when Ivie would turn the page and wait on me to start reading. If I wasn't quick enough in deciphering how I could make the page make sense in 3 sentences or less, and, thus, remained quiet for longer than she deemed suitable, she would exclaim, in an exasperated voice, "Mommy, TAAALK!". And, to make it even better, the word "talk" came out of her with a little southern accent (not sure where it comes from) and she looked at me expectantly with her eyebrows raised. And if she was really annoyed, I was even lucky enough to get a slight roll of the eyes.
Something about that just makes me laugh.