Around 8 months onwards upto 18-20 months.
Once the child started holding and grabbing objects, it was not so easy to quietly read with her. She needed to touch and feel the books. Interestingly, she did not try to tear the pages for a very long time (that started only around 12-14 months). In fact, she made more effort to hold and turn the pages on her own. However, this phase didn’t last longer and we had to sacrifice two of our favourites books. Boardbooks were still not very safe because of chances of baby hurting herself. ‘The very hungry caterpillar’ and ‘small talk Bedtime’ were the only two boardbooks we read during this time. And both of these were our everyday books.
We discovered cloth books that gave us complete freedom to experiment; eat, chew or just look at the book. Sadly, I could not find a good collection of cloth books and with three cloth books, we moved to the next phase.
It was also the time when she started associating sound and objects in the book and probably was following up the story as well. I could see her expressions also changing as per storyline, laughter, sad face and smile.
The books were already an integral part of our diaper bag. Somehow, we developed this habit of reading while feeding. So, reading became a ritual associated with feeding; we were feeding everywhere and so we were reading everywhere. May be traveling alone with the child was easier during this period because I was able to engage her in reading and feeding!
One of the funny incidents were in a bookstore when she started demanding feed upon spotting ‘Lost and Found’. ‘Lost and Found’ somehow survived all the difficult phases and has remained our constant companion till date.
By 13-14 months, she was selecting her own books to be read at bedtime. It is part of our daily ritual now.
One of things that I learned was deep stereotyping prevailing in children literature. I became very conscious of the books I was selecting and whenever I found something to be changed, I ended up editing them.