Wesley loves books.
Like, he is kind of obsessed with books right now.
He has always enjoyed being read to, has had books that he preferred over others. His favorite books have changed throughout the months from his book of black and white patterns, to The Little Penguin book which was an early favorite due to its finger puppet which wiggles in each scene, to Playtime Peekaboo where he could open the flaps of the book, to Crunching Munching Caterpiller which he liked to mimic the crunching noise and he liked the bzzzzz of the bumble bee, to Mother Goose and some others.
In the last two weeks, though, his love of books has gone to a new level. I find myself having read 10 books or more by 9am. Within his assortment, he has a favorite few which he always picks out for us to read, then we branch out. He takes them off his shelf, flips through them a bit on his own and then either looks at us for help or starts whining and looking at us with the clear message of "please read this to me". Sometimes he looks through them on his own for extended periods of time.
As soon as we set him down in the morning, he crawls to his bookshelf in the bedroom and we read a book before leaving the room. Then we go to the living room and he takes his books off the shelf and we start our morning pre-breakfast reading session (30-45 minutes).
He'll often pick up a book and walk over to us. Then he crawls up into our laps and settles in. It melts my heart. I love how he crawls into my lap for storytime.
He likes to point to his favorite parts of the book. I think his new love of books may be closely related to his new love of pointing. He has certain sound effects he makes for his favorite books (bzzzz and crunching noises for a bee and a crunching munching caterpiller, and a certain grunting/woofing noise he does for dogs). He also likes to point at his favorite things in each book, often a dog or a cat. He will point at objects when requested (such as a duck, quack quack) but we try not to 'test' him in this way too much.
We got some new books yesterday to expand the collection. One of them is about the ocean and features a page with sea turtles. Last night I pointed to the sea turtles in the book and then pointed to his light-up sea turtle toy. Tonight when I read the book, as soon as I turned to the turtle page, he started looking around the room, found his turtle, pointed at it repeatedly, and then pointed to the turtles in the book. He continually suprises me.
He has pages in his book that he thinks are funny (a woman's surpised face at finding a gorilla in her bedroom, etc) that he likes to smile or laugh at and he has pages which he finds a little worrisome (a concerned raccoon watching a trash can roll down the hill).
It's as if his attention span went from somewhat short to extremely long overnight. He can focus on books for 20+ minutes at a time, for 5-7 books at a time. Yesterday we read for the first 45 minutes straight upon waking. Sometimes he likes to be standing next to us while we're reading, sometimes he'll sit still for that long.
He often likes to flip the books closed to look at the front cover while we are reading it, then he wants us to continue on. I think he's keeping track of which book we're reading so he can choose it later. He really knows his books. In Mother Goose as soon as we turn the page he recognizes if it's one that is rhythmic because he starts bopping up and down (his dancing) before we even start reading the words. As soon as he sees the Pat-A-Cake page he starts clapping. He has certain ones he flips past because he thinks they're boring.
He's now able to help turn thin-paged books without ripping them. He takes his page books off his shelf and looks through them on his own, too, without ripping the pages.
It's wonderful. And a little wild. A few evenings ago Casey and I read 10 books in a row before bedtime, all the while Wesley is climbing all over our laps and looking at the book while we read. It's amazing because for a long time Wesley had very little "rest time" during the day. He was always moving. Now, with his reading, he has a lot of engaged rest time. It's a wonderful new development.
It is awesome to watch Wesley further develop in his love of books. It is a special way to share time with him--very close, very connected, and now very interactive.