Later, Little Miss admitted that she had noticed it, too. "At first I was thinking about getting a picture book, but I decided I wanted just chapter books instead." And so she had turned to the right.
As I watch my kids grow, I'm realizing that there are a great many firsts and lasts in childhood, so many more than I had considered. Sure, there's the first tooth, the last time to nurse, the first day of school, the last time in the nursery. Those are obvious. But there are others, too. The first time they can do an entire load of laundry, all by themselves. (I now have three in that category, hallelujah.) The last time they accept stickers from the guy at Trader Joe's. (Not sure when that was. It passed without my notice.) The first time they stay up later than their parents. (I'm getting old and tired.) The last time they crawl into bed with you in the morning with bleary eyes and wild hair. (I think Little Miss might have joined us a couple of years ago. I forget.) The first time they unload the dishwasher on their own. (I still have trouble finding the ladle from time to time.) The last time they needed help buckling their car seat. (What a relief to see them pile in, unaided! Of course, now one of them is driving. But that's a different story.)
These passages of time are only natural and right. It wouldn't make sense for my kids to always read Curious George books and ask for my help when brushing their teeth. But it's also good to take a minute and reflect. What was good about those days? What is good about these days? For there is certainly an abundance of blessing in whichever phase we find ourselves.
I like to think about these book phases. When my kids were toddlers, they loved to hold board books. They had to grow to a certain maturity in order to be able to handle a book with paper pages, and then they moved on to the short chapter books. Magic Tree House. The Boxcar Children. The chapters grew longer, and they reached for Little House on the Prairie, Anne of Green Gables and The Wind in the Willows. Now I can hardly keep track of their choices; I've given up on pre-reading their selections. I just do the research . . . and pray. (Which is not so bad, now that I think about it.)
You may find yourself in the board book phase, wiping little cheeks after lunch, helping little ones climb up the step stool to wash at the sink. Or perhaps you're reading picture books. You help tie a shoe or two, but you delight in your child's ability to empty the silverware and put everything in its place. Maybe you've moved on to the shorter chapter books, and you're encouraged by the genuine help you find in your children. Pulling out snacks for a younger sibling, folding a basket of laundry. If you're watching the longer, meatier books pile up on the coffee table, you're in awe of your growing children who are able to help with dinner or run through the grocery store with a list in hand. You wonder, when did this happen?
Wherever you find yourselves, pause for just a minute and say, "Thank you!" Look for the beauty in this season. For God has put you here, at this time, with these children, for His perfect purposes.
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Now, I do believe that it seems only fitting to have a book giveaway with this post! This month I have a copy of Holling Clancy Holling's Newberry award winning book, Minn of the Mississippi. Geared toward ages 9 and up, Holling's 1950s books are intricately illustrated, more lengthy than a typical picture book, and appeal especially to children with an eye for detail and an appreciation for science and history. This paperback copy is in very good used condition, with no tears, creases, marks or odors.
I would love for this book to find a place on your bookshelf! If you would too (and your mailing address is in the US), go ahead and leave me a comment here on the blog or under the link on facebook (one entry per person). In your comment, why don't you mention which book phase your kiddos are in right now and one thing you love about this phase. Board books, picture books, early chapter books, etc. I'll announce a winner next Friday!
Thanks for joining me today, friends. Enjoy your weekend!