I hate reading books. There I said it.
No, not grown up books. I like reading grown up books. ...but children's books? Not so much. One of my least favorite parts of bring a mommy are the books after books after books after books we are expected to read. Mind numbing books of repetitive "I could write this in my sleep" junk. The kids never like the GOOD children's books. You know -- the ones that have a semblance of a plot.
Instead, they are totally into those horrible books where you have to lift flaps constantly and see what is underneath and then match those things to other things under flaps and so on and so on and so on and SO ON -- it lasts forever! ...and those darn flaps NEVER lift right. They stick and they give you paper cuts under your fingers and gosh darn it they are annoying.
So confession made. Book reading is not my mommy thing. Alex is much better at it. He does the voices and makes things entertaining and me? Well, he says it sounds like I am running a race trying to make it to the end of the book (I am.). Particularly when reading Dr. Suess books -- it is almost a challenge to see how quickly I can read them. It actually makes the process the tiniest bit entertaining for me. The thing is -- I should be good at reading books. I took a college course in storytelling for Pete's sake. ...but it isn't the skill level...just the patience level...and my patience meter for children's books is very, very low.
All that said, our children love books. We have boxes and boxes of books around the house. Our eldest has moved on to "chapter" books and all three of them can often be found drinking in words. Our oldest picked up his Daddy's good parenting habits and reads to the younger ones in the bathtub. He spends his reading homework time reading to his younger brothers and is patient as molasses answering their questions. I wish I could be more like him.
Alas, I am not. ...at least not naturally. So I give myself a break (somewhat) and recognize that every parent brings different skills to the parenting table (Alex can't makes crafts worth a ?>#$<), but I also motivate myself through art.
You see, arts and crafts are my thing. Design, decor, gardening, photography -- those are my things. Those are the things that I can share with the kiddos and those are the things that can motivate me to do better in other areas of parenting. So how to motivate myself to read mind-numbing children's books over and over and over again?
Turn it into an art project.
Remember the lantern wall in our master bedroom?
Remember the empty canvases filling out the negative space underneath?
Well, like nature, I abhor a vacuum and those empty canvases create a huge drive in me to FILL them.
Not with art. Not with photos. Not with paint or pastels or crayons or charcoal.
I fill them with books.
You see, every time a book becomes a "favorite" of the boys, it makes its way onto one of the canvases. Every time a book starts to feel like it is asking to be thrown into the burn pile for its lack of adult interest, it gets written on the canvas. Every time the boys ask for a certain book over and over and over again, I break out the metallic Sharpies and script that title across the canvas.
The goal? Eventually, the canvases will be full of metallic script -- beautiful in its own right. ...but also? I will have a record of all those books I hated with a passion and maybe, just maybe, looking back on the titles of all. those. books. might turn into a romanticized version of how we cuddled in bed and read book after book after book after book in perfect mommy-baby harmony. In any case, at least books are getting read.