Rob and I are both avid readers and I'm pretty sure that this is because we both loved reading at an early age. (Thanks LeVar Burton.)
One of my favorite stories that Rob's Gram tells me about him as a kid is the first time she realized he could read. One morning, when he was barely four, he was sitting in a chair in the living room, holding the newspaper. She asked him what he was doing, and he replied that he was reading the paper. She thought this was so cute, and playing along, she asked him what it said. She was stunned when he started reading the article on the front page. He still reads the NY Times every day.
I started reading early too and always spent all of my allowance money on new books during our weekly trip to Davis Kidd. I love the feeling of a book in my hand, turning each page as I get deeper into the story. I don't think I'll ever own a Kindle (as cool as they are) because I always want to be able to hold the book in my hand and I always want there to be books in my house.
So, it comes as no surprise that we want to start reading to Liam as soon as possible. Rob feels a little silly reading to my belly now, but promises to start as soon as he arrives. We've had fun the past few weeks talking about which books were our favorites growing up and what we want to read to him.
In addition to old fav's like The Pokey Little Puppy (Rob's) and The Very Hungry Caterpillar (mine), we've also taken on the task of trying to pick out books for Liam that share social messages that we believe in. Many children grow up reading stories that (subtly) teach their parents' beliefs. We feel the need to select books that show our child things that are important to us-- like how important diversity is & how we believe that love is what defines a family. (If any of you have any favorites that we need to add to our library, let me know!)
I'll admit, it was a little difficult to find books that took the slant we were looking for-- While Heather has Two Mommies is certainly a classic in gay literature for kids, we were looking for something that was a little less...direct? We wanted to find books that were inclusive of alternative families-- not books that singled them out.
Enter Todd Parr, who could easily become my new favorite kids' author.
We found tons of fun books by Parr that we loved, but the best one was The Family Book. It has illustrations of humans and animals and explains that all families are different-- some families have step-parents, some adopt children, some families have single parents and some families have two moms or two dads. The message that Parr always intersperses with the differences is that all families love each other and want to take care of each other.
I think that this is the perfect message to send to our son-- I must admit, I had a good time reading the reviews on Amazon, particularly the negative ones. The comments displayed there are the exact attitudes that I hope to steer our son away from-- To me, it has nothing to do with whether you agree that a particular lifestyle is right or wrong. Instead, it's about acknowledging that these types of families do exist-- and they deserve to be recognized and respected just as much as a typical nuclear family.
But you don't have to take my word for it.