I saw a new commercial the other day - one that said we should read to our children for at least 15 minutes every day. The benefits were numerous - none the least of which were increased intelligence and a better relationship overall between parent and child. My mother read to my siblings and I growing up and we still remember fondly our trips to the library and our favorite stories. Perhaps my perspective is skewed by being the "read-ee" instead of the reader and my memory is a bit more selective - because I think I was a much more accommodating and receptive audience.
Hours of chasing my wild children around the house after dinner and finally getting them to actually sit on the couch instead of jump on it later . . .
ME: "Mommy's going to read you some stories before bed!"
THEM: "Oh goody!"
ME: "Pick out some books and let's sit down and read them."
Most of the books brought to me are rejected by the majority for being too long, too boring, not enough pictures, too many pictures or just plain "we don't like that book".
Finally, we have a book or two and settle in for some nice, calm, enjoyable family time . . .
ME: "Once upon a time . . ."
One of Them: "MOM! You already read that one!"
ME: "No I didn't - this is a different one. They all start this way."
Another one of Them: "No they don't!"
ME: "Okay - how about, sometime a long time ago, I don't know when . . ."
Them: (Deep sigh and rolling of eyes)
ME: " . .. there was a princess . . ."
One of Them (usually Garrett); "Not again!"
Another one of Them (usually Sadie): "MOM! Nathan is turning the pages and now we're on the wrong page!!"
ME: "It's okay - I know the story."
One of Them (ALWAYS Sadie): "No you don't - you always get it wrong!"
Me: "Adam! Come back! Don't you want to read a story? No, Nathan - don't eat the book!"
Two of Them: "Ewwwwwwww, the book is all slobbery now!"
ME: (deep sigh of frustration) "On a day somewhat like this day, there was a crazy Queen . . . "
One of Them (probably Garrett) "It doesn't say that mom."
Me: "Look at the pictures and be quiet and listen. On a day kind of like the one I am having today, the crazy queen made an awesome dinner that nobody liked and someone even threw theirs on the floor which was very naughty. The wicked children ran around and around and around and made loud noises like wild animals. They threw paper on the floor and left their shoes and toys everywhere! The crazy queen got so tired of it that she locked them all in the dungeon and didn't let them come out until they were all grown up and polite and did their own laundry. The end."
Them: (Stunned looks of disbelief and concern that their mom is off her rocker.)
One of Them: "Mom, can we go to the library tomorrow and get some better books?"
ME: (mumbling under breath) "Will you keep your clothes on this time and not streak through the juvenile fiction again?"
Fifteen minutes and two hours later, the noise is dying down and I am contemplating a warm bath and literature without pictures or rhyming prose . . ..
Adam: (who is out of bed with a board book in outstretched hand) "Book!"
I think the commercial forgot to mention that you are supposed to read to someone else's children instead . . .