Listen Up

For a first time mama, I make a lot of time to read. Which still isn’t a whole lot, or nearly as much as some others I know (envy!), but I do what I can. I also try to read in front of my daughter as often as she’ll let me, because I want her to know that I’m a reader, that I value books, and they’re more fun even than the Farscape marathons that accompanied her early nursing days.

But being a baby, she doesn’t have my unrivaled attention span for a new book (though she does toss the ones she doesn’t like to the floor, which I can appreciate after reaching the end of Cold Mountain). So when we’re not listening to “Pollywog in a Bog” or “Prairie Lullaby,” I’ll often listen to some old favorites on audiobook.

I indulge in Garth Nix’s Abhorsen trilogy at least twice a year, and the full cast version of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials, too. There are a few books that listening to has actually made readable, though I’ve gambled on others I neither enjoyed in print nor by ear. And let’s just say I can’t even wait to hear as well as read one of my favorite writers later this year.

Listening to a book is such a dozy pleasure, like nursing a cup of hot chocolate in December, or taking a bubble bath. I can’t race right through, and I’m not competing with my cat for a comfortable spot to rest my arms. Listening also means I can get away with things like folding diapers or building block towers at the same time. While I’ve got to start being more mindful about what we’re listening to as my baby girl grows up (I don’t want a repeat of when this book got super unexpectedly sexy, super fast), listening to books seems to me like a lovely way to share some of my favorites with her.

And a way to take advantage of what precious little spare time motherhood provides.

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