For the past few weeks, we have started a bedtime routine with Ben. We change him into a bedtime diaper and pajamas, I nurse him, and then we take turns reading him stories while sitting in my grandmother's rocking chair. Since we have started this, he has been sleeping in his crib from about 9:30 until about 7:00 in the morning! From what I've read, consistency is key. I don't want to jinx myself, but wow, this has made our lives so much easier.
He still doesn't sleep much during the day. He will take a few cat naps here and there, but he doesn't seem to be cranky or anything. I think by the time he's crawling around and moving around more, then he'll need a solid nap or two during the day, though.
We are working on building Ben's library all of the time, and here are some of our favorites from his shelf: anything Dr. Seuss (especially The Lorax), Bill Martin and Eric Carle (Brown Bear, Brown Bear, Hungry Caterpillar and several more), Dooby Dooby Moo and more from that set, Miss Spider books, Are You My Mother, and several cloth, bathtub, and touch and feel books. He also has a beautiful hardback copy of Mother Goose nursery rhymes that was given to us by my students last spring.
And for later we have Everyone Poops by Teri Gomi, Where The Wild Things Are, Aesop's Fables, Grimm's Fairy Tales, Babushka Baba Yaga, Chicken Sunday, and several hundred from my classroom when he's even older.
Some on my "to buy" list are Goodnight Moon, Goodnight Gorilla, Barnyard Banter, Big Red Barn, Ten Little Ladybugs, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, Pat the Bunny, Belly Button Book, Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You?, David books, anything about farms, and some books with baby faces. There are so many more that it's overwhelming. I found a few lists of great baby and toddler books here, here and here. I want to continue to build our library of books that teach a lesson, as I've been asked to start reading the children's story on a few Sunday's this fall. I'm always open to suggestions for new books.
"In the end, there is no program or policy that can substitute for a parent – for a mother or father who will turn off the TV, put away the video games, and read to their child. I speak to you not just as a President, but as a father, when I say that responsibility for our children’s education must begin at home. That is not a Democratic issue or a Republican issue. That’s an American issue." Speech by President Barack Obama to the Joint Session of Congress, Feb. 24, 2009.