Happy Birthday, Shakespeare! I bet that got you scratching your head. Who reads Shakespeare to their kids?

Well, in my ambitious, first-child, still-on-maternity-leave days, I got it in my head that I’d read Shakespeare to CJ. I’d probably read something on brain or child development to encShakespeare_Completeourage this. So I dragged out my tomb of Shakespeare and started. As you can imagine, a two-inch thick book of iambic pentameter is not the ideal reading material for a rocker with your infant. And knowing me, I was probably trying to nurse at the same time.

Needless to say, it didn’t last. I’m not sure who got fed up first, but I went on to read other things. But the bottom line is in those early days, it doesn’t matter what you read as long as you read. You may feel silly reading pictures books to an unresponsive baby. So read your novel or Sports Illustrated. I remember reading J.D. Robb mysteries to CJ and Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential to Cam (bleeping out the bad words, of course).

In those early days, really the first year, it is hearing your voice, listening to words, cuddling, and bonding that matters. At some point, you’ll have to switch to more appropriate, children-friendly books, but you have time. Time to build a tradition of reading every day.

Tell us what you read to your babies in those early days.