Reading to my crazies is one of my favorite parts of motherhood. I’ll quickly pass up trips to the playground in lieu of curling up on our big chair and reading. In fact, I love it so much that we regularly miss their bedtimes because we’ve “just gotten to the good part.”
Right now we’re on some pretty action-packed series, but in the past, some of the books have been truly mind-numbing. Others, however, have left a lasting impression.
Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing simple lessons I’ve learned about life and parenting through children’s books.
The book I need to start with is a book from my childhood. A book I remember my mom reading to me, but as an adult, I couldn’t for remember the title for all the margaritas in the world… I could only remember the premise (A princess, a stubborn king, a jester and the moon). But I knew it was one of my all-time favorite books.
When I first met my now husband (My Guy), we were in the delightful discovery phase of our relationship. Back in the days when I paid a ridiculous amount of money for a small one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco. When my biggest worry was making it to the bus stop by 8:05 a.m. to catch the number 45 to the financial district. When life was was comparatively less complicated.
These stress-free days always ended with long phone calls with My Guy. And during one such call I had revealed a sliver of a memory from when I was a child. I recalled reading a book about a princess who wanted to wear the moon on a necklace. This was such a tiny part of our conversation that I didn’t even recall that we talked about it a year later when he gave me the book for Christmas.
Ahhh the sweetness of the courtship… My Guy spent a ridiculous amount of time hunting down this book (remember this was pre-Google – holy cow, we’re old!). Once he got the book, he dug up a picture of me when I was in first grade to include on the inside cover. (I think he sealed the deal for marriage with that genius move.)
I tucked this little gem, first grade photo and all, onto a bookshelf and quietly waited for my turn to read it to my children some day. I anticipated reading my kids all about the princess who wanted to wear the moon around her neck and the king who couldn’t figure out how to do that for her. And when that day finally came, I got more out of the book than my crazy babies.
If you plan on reading it, and I hope you do, know that the book is really long and requires lots of summarizing or it will go over a young child’s head.
But it’s SO worth wading through just to get to the golden nugget of truth: let your kids solve the problem.
I know. It sounds so easy, but as parents, we’re wired to teach, not ask. Since learning this little trick, we’ve used this countless time when our kids ask us questions that we either don’t know the answer to or don’t want to tell the the truth because the time isn’t right.
“The thing to do is find out how big the Princess Lenore thinks it is…”
Rather than jump online and Google it, we resist the urge to answer it for them and instead ask them what they think. Their answers astound us. We clearly don’t give our little wild ones enough credit.
I highly recommend reading the book, if not to your kids, to your spouse. It’s such a wonderful life lesson. Who knew a children’s book would help us parent?!
The next book is a personal favorite because it goes to the core of my parenting beliefs. Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse.
P.S. Have a book from your childhood that you still remember? Share it on my Facebook page… I’d love to hear about it!