For the first 18 months of River’s life, I didn’t have much of a desire to buy him anything. Though I occasionally felt like a bad parent compared to my friends who instigated nightly bedtime reading pretty much from birth, we didn’t read much at all for the first six months. And for what we did do, the library was good enough. I didn’t need any clothes or toys beyond what I could get on freecycle or an occasional yard or consignment sale.
So when we set a family budget and I allocated $100/month for River’s discretionary expenses (not including food, medical or education savings), I thought that was pretty generous. Yet, I now find myself overspending and have to take some tough decisions (delay the start of swim lessons, put off his portrait, resist buying things on impulse, like the plastic duck reading a book I paid $6.50 for at the library).
But the one thing I really can’t stop buying is books. I just spent over an hour browsing Amazon and putting book after book in my cart. As I found good ones on Amazon, I would search my local library to see if they had it. If they did, I reserved it. So in addition to a large purchase, I probably also have a big stack of books waiting for me at the library.
With books in English, I don’t feel the need to buy many. There are so many at the library and we also find them for free or cheap, either from people clearing out their garages or at rummage sales. But I can’t find used children’s books in Spanish easily. I get them from the library, but there are only so many. I want him to have close to equal numbers of books in Spanish and English around the house, so that when he picks up a book and asks me to read it to him, I’m not always saying, “That’s a book for daddy to read to you.”
Also, now that we’ve moved beyond the baby books (I’m now reading him books labeled in the age 4-8 range) I’m finding myself loving the stories. The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Where the Wild Things Are, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. It’s wonderful to see the world through a child’s eyes again, and doing so in Spanish gives me a bit of a challenge and the opportunity to learn some new words.
There is no doubt that River loves books, is passionate about them, would happily listen to 15-25 per day. Which is good. Because I don’t mean to project myself upon him. But if I had complete freedom, I’d probably fill the house with as many Spanish stories as I could find.