I debated a while over which way to go with this one. I could have just as easily gone with Bicycle for this post. That's because, as I posted here about a year ago, Lukas is already a pro with his two wheeler.
We started with a balance bike at 2 years old, then at 3 and a half it only took him 10 minutes to learn to use the pedal bike without training wheels. If you have a toddler, I would highly recommend you start with a balance bike. We go out riding along Alki Beach in Seattle quite often and it was amazing the comments and looks we would receive trailing after a 3 year old who was pedaling along on a tiny bicycle.
But instead I decided to dedicate this Dad's A-Z post to Books, which are a huge part of Lukas' life. Mrs. LIAYF and I started collecting books for Lukas before he was even born. I even started to read to him each night while he was in utero. Most often this was the classic Father/Son story 'Guess How Much I Love You'. We had done a lot of research during the early stages of the pregnancy and believed that reading to him even before he was born would help him recognize our voices right away once he was born. It worked.
From there we kept collecting books for him from used book stores, thrift stores, yard sales, and from gifts he had received. We tried to be selective, looking mostly for books which were classics, award winners, or ones with exceptional illustrations. And, even though we knew he couldn't understand us early on, we would still read multiple books to him on a daily basis.
I wrote a post back in July of 2010, called The Count where we tallied up the number of books we had accumulated at the time. Amazingly it was over 250. And we have collected hundreds more since then.
Lukas loves all these books. Early on he started responding more and more to the chapter books with stories. He obviously was understanding much more than even we realized. Now he has a terrific memory for these stories. We will pull a book off the shelf that we haven't read in well over a year and he will remember it line by line.
Even though we have such a large collection of kid books, Mrs. LIAYF is currently reading Lukas the complete Wizard of Oz series in digital format, a brand new medium to him, thanks to her Kindle.
(Classic @Seattledad tweet: I wonder if my grandkids will ask me one day "Grandpa did you really once read of off really thin sheets of wood?")
I'm not sure what he thinks of digital books, but he is really enjoying the stories. They are already on book number six. Right now though his favorite book is indisputably The Lego Star Wars Visual Dictionary. It's not a story book, but it combines his two favorite things right now, Legos and Star Wars which go together nearly as well as chocolate and peanut butter.
Obviously, Mrs. LIAYF and I are doing all we can to foster Lukas' love of the written word. After all, we live in Seattle which is the most literate city in America. The fact is, we have to be readers here since we spend nearly six months a year inside and out of the soggy rain.
No doubt Lukas will be reading chapter books on his own soon enough and will be padding that statistic.
But, no matter what form his future collection consists of, we are certainly happy that we are fostering his love of books.