Reading.

So I don’t read to Ava very often. 
I feel like people could easily judge me for this. I mean, we know reading is one of the most important things you can do with your little one, right? And a nonverbal, hearing-impaired child who has years of speech therapy in front of her surely needs plenty of story time to help her along. She probably needs about 4 times as many books read to her as Elijah does. 
Even if you weren’t judging me for not reading to her, be assured that I feel bad about it anyway. Often. I mean, how long does it take to just read a book to your daughter, right? And what’s worse, Elijah & I read at least 3 books together every night. It’s totally unfair. 
Well, I actually read a book to Ava today – a fun pop-up book called Glitter Critters. I began my endeavor at 4pm. Here are the steps that ensued.
  1. Inside my head: Hey, I could read Ava a book right now! 
  2. Go find Ava’s Big Mac Button. Since our house is for sale, I can’t keep it in a convenient location; must remember where I put it.
  3. Record a new message on found button: “Turn the page” now plays back whenever she smacks it.
  4. Find the book icon the speech therapist gave me to put on the button so she associates it with reading.
  5. Sit down on the floor with Ava, the book and the button. 
  6. Realize she can’t reach the button well while floor-sitting; need to use the high chair.
  7. Realize she has a poopy diaper.
  8. While changing diaper, observe child #1 having a (rare) accident on the carpet. Did I mention our house is on the market? 
  9. Help Craig clean up accident. Not because he isn’t capable, but because teamwork is just kinder when it comes to accidents.
  10. Rearrange dining room chair/high chair setup.
  11. Situate Ava in her high chair with book and button on the tray.
  12. Remember she only has one hearing aid, as the other is still out for repair: feel bad for a moment; move on because nothing can be done about the fact that she may not hear half of what we read.
  13. Start reading, giving her time to remember she’s supposed to hit the button to tell me to turn the page. 
  14. We read the book, and she gets into a button-smacking groove about halfway through! Does she get what she’s doing? Who knows! It’s a start.
  15. Hey, we did it! Let’s try it one more time!
  16. But first, why not take a picture of her with her fun book and the button? 
  17. (Series of blurry/head-turned-away iPhone pictures ensues.)
  18. Fine, let’s quit trying to show off and just read the book again.
  19. Elijah runs up, begins excitedly hitting the button for Ava.
  20. Explain we have to be patient and wait for Ava to do it; he can have a turn after.
  21. Start reading again, with Elijah banished to a buttonless book on the couch…but now Ava is rubbing her eyes: her way of telling me she is DONE reading and probably also tired.
  22. Rubbing and yawning persists; it’s over.
  23. Go to the couch and read with Elijah while he promptly smacks the button for each page turn.
  24. Meanwhile glance guiltily at Ava, still sitting in her high chair, rubbing her eyes, bored.
  25. Leave Elijah to play with the button while I get Ava’s bath ready; it’s 4:30, Craig’s leaving for work and I have to get started on, yes, nighttime routine things, or the kids will get to bed later than I’d like. Book time is over. 
So, when I feel guilty about the things I’m not doing for Ava…or when a therapist asks me if we’ve done the exercises/assignments she’s given us and I say no (which happens multiple times a week lately) I try to remember lists like this. Because while the details vary, so many tasks that seem simple when they ask if I’ve done them…just aren’t. Reading is one of a long list of things we are told to do with Ava each day, and often they end up being as complicated as this book-reading venture. 
Lately I am trying to live by the motto “A low bar is better than no bar.” We can’t give up; but high standards right now are oppressive. So, hopefully I’ll get to read to Ava again next week. We’ll see.
  

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