By JC Lynne
The Beard and I are a strange lot. Many of our friends are either a generation older than we are or a generation or two younger. We fall into limbo often because we don't have school aged kids or grandchildren. Thank goodness on both counts.
Our families fall into the same categories. I only have two cousins relatively close to my age. One doesn't have children, and the other has children younger than ours. (Shout out to my sweet S!) The rest of our cousins, nieces, and nephews are in the getting married, having babies stage.
I have two pieces of bare-bones advice for the folks who fall into this category.
1. Forget being 'In Love.' It's great to love each other, but if you can wake up most days and think, "You know, I really like you." You've got this marriage thing in the bag.
2. You don't need a friggin' baby wipe warmer.
I give expectant parents children's books as shower presents. Books and spit up cloths, typically a large pack of cloth diapers. In my experience, you can never have too many. I'm all about the practical. I also grew tired of looking like a Pollock painting.
I'm a writer and a former Literature teacher. Of course, I'm giving books. We're a houseful of book nuts. I started them young.
Reading to children is one of the most formative things a parent can do with their child.
I'm preaching to the choir here but as young as 8 weeks old, children will focus on your voice and can recognize rhythms and speech patterns. Children whose parents read aloud have improved concentration, greater vocabulary development, and develop stronger empathy and understanding for others.
Reading independently and reading aloud promotes overall achievement across ALL curriculum.
Reading out loud isn't just for small kids. Even children who can read benefit from listening to stories. Not only did I read with my kids until the middle grades, but I also read aloud and shared audiobooks with my secondary English students.
We all love to get caught up in a story.
Our nephew and his wife are expecting, and the baby shower invite showed up on schedule. It thrilled me to see an included card titled, "Books for Baby." Rather than a greeting card, my niece-in-law asked for people to bring a book, new or used.
On the one hand, whoo hoo! On the other side, she's f*cking with my gift mojo.
I have a go-to list of favorite children's books that our kids still love today. Titles whose covers nearly fell off from so many readings. Some of them are out of print, Jesus, and lollipops! No book should be out of print, just saying.
In no particular order:
I know, I know, but the kids NEVER grew tired of this one. Tens of thousands of times we read this. There's a reason it's a meme.
Where The Wild Things Are
Do I even need to explain? We ARE the Wild Rumpus.
Guess How Much I Love You
We've changed it to the edge of the expanding universe for scientific accuracy's sake, but the Dotter and I still use this to end our exchanges.
Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
The best book about complaining EVER.
One Monster After Another (this one's out of print, grrrrrrrrr)
Mercer Mayer and Monsters. Enough said.
Sure, there are the Give A Mouse A Cookie books. And the entire Seuss library. Don't forget Eric Carle. Since the whole hootenanny will be bringing books, I'm worried about duplicates.
Writers, which books are on your list?