Allergy Mom

Name: Amy Schwabe
Kids: Two girls, Alex (10) and Wendy (6)
Works: stay-at-home mom, blogger, freelance writer
Favorite part about being a mom: watching my girls develop personalities and habits that are a lot like those of my husband's and mine, but also uniquely their own
Least favorite part about being a mom: trying to find balance -- in everything -- the line between being too overprotective vs. too free-range; the line between overscheduling so we don't miss anything we want to do and being more spontaneous so we can enjoy just a few of the things we want to do; the line between sheltering the kids so they don't make any mistakes and being so hands-off that they make too many mistakes
Famous for: having so many books that guests are free to use my home as a lending library (although my younger daughter says I'm famous for cleaning the house)

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Continuing Traditions -- Reading Day

In my next two blog posts, I want to focus on some activities I share with each of my daugthers.  Today I will write about one of my favorite things to do with Alex.  Next week I'll write about Wendy.

For as long as I can remember, I've been a reader. I devour books. I spend as much time as I can reading. I mark used book sales on my calendar months ahead of time, and I look forward to them as if they were Christmas. I get giddy at the sight of a Barnes and Noble gift card. My husband and I have erected huge bookcases in several rooms of our house, and there is still overflow. I once read a blog post by a woman who was bragging that she had several hundred books. I laughed at that as I had recently pulled nearly 100 books just from under my bed during a spring cleaning spree.

I do come by it honestly though. My mom loves to read as much as I do, and her dad loves it too. The three of us are always trading books back and forth, and encouraging one another to try a new author.

So you can imagine my delight when my older daughter Alex, now 9, seemingly came out of the womb obsessed with books. As a baby, as soon as she could sit up, she would page through books and magazines. Sure, at that point, she also ripped many of the pages, but what can you expect from a baby?

When Alex was a toddler, we would get stacks of picture books from the library and I'd read them to her all morning.

When she was three, she started asking me to “read the words” to her, meaning she wanted me to follow along the words with my finger as I read them.

And then, one morning when she was four, Alex came into my room and woke me up, handing me a book, “Oliver” by Syd Hoff to be exact. She told me she was going to read it to me, and, amazingly, she did. To my surprise and absolute delight, Alex read me the whole book, only needing help with a few words.

From that point on, a new world opened up for both of us. One day, Alex and I were hanging out during my younger daughter's nap, when Alex asked me if I wanted to lie down on my bed and read with her. I said sure and asked what she wanted me to read to her. She responded that she just wanted to get a stack of books to read to herself while I read my book to myself. My mouth dropped to the floor, and I was speechless. I hadn't considered the possibility that my daughter would love reading enough to be happy to just do it by my side.

I was transported back in time to one of my favorite traditions with my own mom. A few times every spring and summer, my dad would take my little sister to a baseball game, something they loved to do together that my mom and I did not have an interest in. So the two of us would see them off, turn to each other, grin, and grab our shoes to run up the street to the corner gas station and stock up on snacks. We would each get a soda, ice cream, something salty, and something sweet. We would get home, grab some books, take our snacks (our dinner for the night) upstairs, and plop down on my mom's bed to read together for hours.


In those few moments after Alex's suggestion, I realized that I could continue the reading night tradition. So that's exactly what we did. Every few months, Alex and I will grab our books, our snacks, and read together for a few hours. We share with each other what we're reading, we talk about our lives, but most of all, we just hang out and enjoy the camaraderie of sharing our favorite hobby with each other.

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