Today I added to my list of Mama Job subtitles Book Re-Binder. (That's in addition to my current repertoire, which is extensive and includes Bottom-Wiper, Cheek-Smoocher, and Getter Of Cottage Cheese Out Of Hair.)
Bug comes from a healthy heritage of book lovers on both sides of her family, and she has a decent sized library for someone who still likes swirling her apple sauce all over her tray at lunch time. While many of her nicer, paper-paged books are kept in a basket on top of her dresser, she has a large storage drawer on her floor that is full of board books she can play with anytime she wants.
Buggy loves to read. She recently got this book in some sort of kid's meal at a fast food joint, and we read it together at least twice a day. I can stop reading at any point on any page, and she'll confidently finish the remainder of the page from memory. She calls it her Little Cribber story, which is freakin' adorable.
Over time, her fondness for books means that her beloved stories get a little worn. As a book lover myself, I have to remind myself occasionally that her books are there for her to love, and resist the urge to get upset
when she drives cars all over them like a road, or when a smaller Bug used to suck on the corners of the pages.
Armed with clear packing tape, I joined what I assume is leagues of mothers before me in repairing a few of her more damaged books. I'll admit I was not thrilled to find myself fixing the binding on her Numbers Book which was ruined when she joyfully tossed it down the stairs repeatedly, watching it tumble and bounce to the bottom. That little incident, which happened about a year ago, resulted in one of her earliest lectures on taking care of the nice things we have.
Next up, though, was a book she has very literally loved to pieces. I smiled as I found myself gently replacing the cover page of her most favorite story ever. I could hear in my head her little voice begging "Yiddow Mouse story, Mama!" while I lined up the binding. I imagined her chubby little fingers turning the pages over and over again, her face lighting up at each familiar picture until the cover page fell off entirely.
I have read The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear by Don and Audrey Wood hundreds of times. I've blindly recited it from start to finish -- completely from memory -- in the car late at night to stave off her tired tears. Even after she stops asking for it every day, I am certain I'll remember the rhythm of that story until I read it again to my own grandchildren.
Want to know how I know that?
Because of the smile on my mom's face when she starts reciting the first page of my own favorite story from when I was tiny.
I am a bunny. My name is Nicholas. I live in a hollow tree.