A Slice of Life is a weekly blog hosted by Two Writing Teachers, Ruth Ayers and Stacey Shubitz. Click on Two Writing Teachers to be taken to their website to learn more about this week's Slice of Life.
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|Madeline Taylor Sachiko Becker, February 3, 2010|
The best day of my life thus far was the day my daughter, Madeline a.k.a. Maddie, was born (sorry, babe...but, marrying you is a close second). Madeline was honestly named after Ludwig Bemelmans's book Madeline. I had actually wanted to name our daughter Abigail (meaning my father's joy) but Mark said to me, "I've always loved the cute, little girl on the book. You know, Madeline." Be still my beating heart! Name our daughter after an adorable children's book character? Why, yes! And so, our daughter was lovingly named Madeline.
The best day of my life also became the scariest. Nothing scary about her birth, per se, but scary in terms of the reality of becoming a parent. I was 39 when Madeline was born and my husband and I knew she'd be our only child- he's 8 years older than me so feels the age factor as much as I do when it comes to raising a child. We both knew we had one chance to do this parenting thing right.
I don't think that there is anything special about the way I raise my daughter. I believe that I want the same things for her that other parents want for their children - I want to raise a child who knows that she is loved. I want her to know that making mistakes are ok - you've got to take chances and do it wrong in order to learn and grow. I want her choose her own path; although, I'll be honest and suggest things like, "you know could be a marine biologist," as we walk through the Marine Science Center. I try hard not to push her in stereotypical "girl" activities-she wants the trucks instead of the dolls then that is what we get her. I actually think she is a good blend of the Mark and me - she can climb trees, dig in the dirt, and be rough and tumble with dad and then come join me for quieter time reading books and writing.
I would say that I am like other parents in that I want to raise an intelligent child. I never want to inundate Maddie with too many learning activities and not enough time to just explore. I tend to be really structured and rigid and only see certain ways to do things so it's been a real lesson for me to back off and just let Maddie BE. I try not to be the helicopter parent...I do catch myself in the act though. That was kind of a bird walk...anyway, one of the most important things that I've done with Maddie early on is reading with her. We read to her when she was in the womb. We have read to her every day since we brought her home. Books are an item that we do not skimp on - we have stacks everywhere. Maddie is friends with Library Linda at our local public library. I am proud of the exposure that she has and will continue to have to books.
In May of this year I had to come off of my high horse in terms of thinking I was such a great parent because I read to my child every day. I had this epiphany that Maddie never saw me reading. And, honestly, I wasn't reading for pleasure that often. I got out of the habit of reading and I'm not really sure how or why. After connecting with a few other educators on Twitter who were avid kid lit readers, my reading life has changed considerably. (Bird walk alert! If you are not on Twitter then you need to be. I've met some AH-MAZING people that have really nurtured and supported the reader and writer in me.) As a result, my daughter now sees me buying my own books and checking out books for mama from the library. She sees my book stacks are as big as hers. She has always loved being read to but now I observe her picking up books to read on her own. Honestly, I saw this behavior from her more, I believe, after began reading in front of her more.
When we travel, we travel with books. I used to just pack books for Maddie. Now, I pack books for me, too. I believe that in addition to reading to Maddie every day that I need to set the example for her about the importance of making time for personal reading - that reading is not always for an assignment and doesn't have to be only part of the night time routine. Reading is a special time to relax and enjoy the adventure on the pages. It's important for me to be Maddie's reading role model.
|My little reading buddy|