Skip to content

Sixteen Months

Dear Persephone,

I mentioned it last month, but since then your nascent love of books has exploded into an all-out obsession. You will sometimes go into your room and close the door behind you; we find you sitting by the bookshelf, going through your books one by one. You love to have books read to you, first thing in the morning, last thing at night. It’s really something.

In part I think your extreme interest in books may stem from the fact that we haven’t played you any baby videos. I’ve been somewhat leery of those things, and vowed before you were born that we would try to adhere to the recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics to stay away for the first couple years at least. So, without videos to watch, books are really your main form of entertainment. But of course there must be more to it than that. You have all sorts of toys, but you often prefer books. Who knows? Maybe it’s genetic. Maybe it’s just a phase.

These days you want to get into everything, and you don’t really understand concepts like “no.” If you see a button you’ve got to press it. If you see a drawer you’ve got to open it. It’s endless.

The doctor prescribed a ten-day course of antibiotics to get you over a sinus infection. That put an end to your cough that’s worried me for many months, but it was rough on your digestion, despite the yogurt we fed you. Then, a week later, you somehow scraped up your toe and it just wouldn’t seem to heal up on its own. We certainly don’t want to give you too many antibiotics, but nevertheless you’re in the middle of another ten-day course right now. Doesn’t quite seem fair.

Last year when we made an extended car trip courtesy of Hurricane Gustav, you were too young to walk or even crawl. You didn’t mind being immobile for extended periods. Now it’s a little different, as we discovered when we made a trip up to Indiana to visit family last week. I remarked to some friends: “My baby isn’t the best traveling companion. She gets carsick, she’s constantly whining, and she throws temper tantrums when she doesn’t get her way. Also, my infant daughter isn’t much better.” (Get it? That was a joke.) You made a big impression on my sister and both sets of grandparents. You even got a chance to visit your great-grandmother in Indianapolis. And I think the first person you’ve identified by name would be your cousin Ella.

That reminds me that you’ve said your first two-syllable word: bottle.

Published inLetters to Persephone


  1. It’s a beautiful thing when they’re into the books that early, and it grows with them when that nurturing continues…at a big dinner with our friends once, my son took his favorite book along while he was in the high chair, and at one point, I noticed him looking around intently and then comparing what he saw to a page in his book that showed a big dinner party with all the animals sitting around a table very similar to ours.

    And hey, even the idiotic Baby Einstein videos have finally been discredited. Keep on with the books, Persephone!

  2. Jessica Jessica

    I think your theory about the baby videos is correct. My daughter is almost 11 months old and has had zero exposure to TV, movies, and baby videos–and she is developing the same attraction to being read to. Before bed and before each nap, it must be books. It’s really something.

  3. Eric Paul Eric Paul

    That’s wonderful, palito, WONDERFUL! We read to our daughter early on. In fact, often, I would make up bed time stories for her. Thanks to that she, Kendra (our ‘nick’ for her is “Sparky”) received a $2,500.00 writing award last year when she graduated from Trinity College with honors. We were very proud, and now pally, little P is on her way. Bravo!

  4. When my daughter (now 17) was around your daughter’s age, she not only loved books, I think she understood that I loved books. One of her favorite activities was to unload the bookcases she could reach and deliver them all to me on the couch.

    (And she was allowed some Barney and Sesame STreet and some of the shows that are no longer on TLC like Zoobalie Zoo). She’s not a voracious reader (and Franklin may be to blame for that; they really load those kids up with work) but she usually has a non-school book around somewhere. She devoured the Twilight books so I guess it’s just a matter of having something she really wants to read.

    Thanks for brining back this precious memory of my own.

  5. lemming lemming

    Anti-biotics are there to be used. Don’t demand them at every sniffle, but both instances you mention sound entirely apt.

    Awesome on the books – if P sees you and Xy reading (and I know she does) that also bings home the message

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *