Reading Ritual

The greatest amount of strategizing during packing involves Klara’s books. Her bedtime ritual is as follows:

– first, N and I read books to her on our bed.

– then, N gives her a bath and reads books to her.

– after the bath, I take her back to our bedroom and read books to her there.

– then I take her to her room and read books to her there.

– then I leave, N comes and reads one last story to her. And then she sleeps.

There are never any battles, tears or arguments around bedtime. We are very very fortunate people in that respect. But the ritual is inviolable.

So you can imagine how much reading matter we need to bring for a 3-week trip. It’s not only for her but also for us. Last vacation I had to read the same book to her about 5,000 times and I still detest that book. She loved the repetition but I was going nuts.

16 thoughts on “Reading Ritual”

  1. That is hilarious! It’s a bit like our ritual — bath, then books, then someone has to lie down with her for 5 minutes, followed by more reading, and then finally hugs and kisses and tucking in. But again, we have no tantrums at bedtime — if anything, my daughter looks forward to the rituals!


    1. Yes, I find that predictability and rituals are very comforting to toddlers. They are comforting to me, too, because I like to know when I’ll be doing what.


  2. Part of our ritual for packing for trips is that my children (who are a bit older than yours at 3 and 6) know that we only take lightweight paperback picture books. They actually take up very little space, and I find that we can carry quite a few, especially if I put some in my carry on, some in my suitcase, and some in the kids’ suitcase. Like this book:


  3. When I was very little (perhaps 3) and we had to go on a trip, my parents would buy me a Little Golden Book. Are you familiar with those yet? They sell them everywhere: grocery stores, pharmacies, drug stores. They are cheap, durable, very small, and have adorable pictures. I, to this day, remember the joy of getting them. Anyway, you could probaby buy one- three a day for Klara while you are there and still not spend a lot. You could also pack about 7-14 of them and make only a small dent in your suitcase. They are just sweet, entertaining little books.


    1. P.S. My favorite Little Golden Book is/was “The Tawney Scrawney Lion.” I can’t remember much about it. But I the upshot was that a lion becomes best friend with a bunny rabbit and learns to like carrot stew. Everytime I eat carrot/ginger soup or drink carrot juice, I think of that little story and my mom reading it to me. 🙂


    1. People seem to have zero insight into child psychology whatsoever. There is nothing weird about these stories. They occur with small children about 10 times a day. This is not special in any way.

      Small children live in the world of imagination. They don’t see any difference between imagination and reality. Klara talks to imaginary people, serves imaginary ice cream, tells stories she invented, etc all the time. If I wanted to interpret it in the direction of proving the afterlife, I easily could. Small children also have access to the parents’ subconscious. If the parent is desperate for proof that grandma is sending messages from the afterlife, the kids will be giving proof all day long.


      1. \ Small children also have access to the parents’ subconscious.

        Do you mean that they read body language very well?

        How would a child be able to sing a melody they never heard? It sounds magical, so I think the child did hear it and parents forgot.


      2. \ Small children also have access to the parents’ subconscious.

        If you mean something beyond reading body language, can it be (re)created in adulthood between certain people? If they try?


  4. I googled “subconscious” and found info about a new article on “Microaggressions: Strong Claims, Inadequate Evidence.”

    I know you are allergic to the word, but the third point about Negative emotionality (NE) is interesting and important to mention in an academic journal.

    Wanted to ask whether there is a good book about unconscious and such insights you keep mentioning in your posts. I do not mean Freud, but modern book summarizing the state of the field today (how psyche works) in an accessible language.

    And waiting for your posts about books regarding the post nation-state world. 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.