I’ve always loved books and was an avid reader from an early age. My favourites as a child were Roald Dahl, especially ‘The Twits’ and his ‘Revolting Rhymes’ (I always giggled at the line in ‘The Three Pigs’: “once more the maiden’s eyelid flickers, she draws the pistol from her knickers.”) and pretty much anything by Enid Blyton. I dreamed of treasure hunting with the Famous Five, or boarding at Malory Towers.
I’ve always made sure with H that books are an important part of our daily life. From a baby he had lots; picture books, several of the ‘That’s Not My…’ series, then board books of ‘Dear Zoo’ and ‘Elmer’, and moving on to ‘Thomas and Friends’ stories, books by Julia Donaldson such as ‘The Gruffalo’ (what childcare practitioner doesn’t know that off by heart?) and, of course, ‘Aliens Love Underpants’ and all of the sequels. We have our fair share of ‘naughty’ books too: we like ‘Pooh, is That You , Bertie?’ and ‘The Dinosaur Who Pooped Christmas’. One of our absolute favourite stories is ‘The Great Dog Bottom Swap’!
Every night we’d have at least one or two (or three, or four!) at bedtime, as well as reading in the day and at nursery. H has always loved books; although he does prefer to be read to, his own reading is improving all the time and he recently moved on to ‘Captain Underpants’ rather than those of the Aliens. I have also managed to read a few Roald Dahl books, his favourite so far being ‘Charlie the Chocolate Factory’, and we’re currently reading a Famous Five. He really enjoyed ‘The Enchanted Wood’, whereas I was really disappointed with how poorly-written it seems now that I am old!
Now, to the point of my post…
Tink doesn’t do books. Not in the way I’d hoped. She’ll look at picture books, briefly, before her fleeting attention is caught by something else. I used to try to read to her at bedtime like I did with H. I’d saved all his ‘baby’ books in anticipation and would try, night after night to settle her down to bed with a story, but she would just grab at the pages and try to turn them before I’d even got a word out. She’ll even happily tear pages, which makes me sob inwardly and get very cross outwardly! I hate pages being ripped! I’d tell myself she wasn’t talking because I wasn’t reading to her enough. After all, it’s common knowledge that children’s communication improves if they’re read to, isn’t it? But she just wouldn’t let me.
Now, of course, we know more about Tink and more about why she lacks the attention for books. I keep trying, but she’s just not interested. She has a pretty set routine at bedtime, and ‘story’ does not feature. And you know what? It absolutely breaks my heart.
Books are so important to me and I believe they’re so important for children to enjoy. I’m devastated that, at the moment, Tink doesn’t love them like I do. I so desperately want to share my favourite stories with her. I want her to ask me to read ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ over and over. I want to snuggle with her at bedtime while we read ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’.
I will persevere. I have kept all the books in the hope that one day she’ll bring one to me to read to her and that she will let me read it to her, rather than losing interest within seconds. Sigh…