One of the things I’m missing most about my friends now living in Eyemouth is the fact I don’t get to see them as much anymore. My favourite thing when visiting the boys (Elastaboy & Mr Teapot) was reading with them. When my friends asked me if I’d be godmother and told me that I was going be allowed to be ‘Auntie’ to them, I was determined of three things.
1. To make sure I prayed for them and be real about my faith with them (please note my friends are Christians and I took vows as a godmother to pray for Elastaboy. I didn’t take vows for Mr Teapot, but I love him just the same and do the same for him vows or not!)
2. That they would be subjected to good music and the best Disney/Pixar movies
3. That I would encourage them to read.
I loved reading when I was a kid, and part of what made that fun was story tapes. Even though I could read the book myself, it was so much more fun to be read to and hear someone articulating the tone of the moment. My friends have filled the boys life with books which I love and from a very early age, being read to was part of Elastaboy’s pre-bedtime routine. I loved getting to babysit when I got to be part of that routine. Even during afternoons when the boys got a bit rowdy I’d get them to sit in the sofa and Elastaboy and later on Mr Teapot would pull a book off ‘their’ shelf in the living room and bring it over so we could read it together.
At the weekend, I went down for a birthday party, and finally got to give the boys their Christmas presents (and Mr Teapot’s birthday presents). One of the books that I discovered while helping my friend Gavin find a present for his nephew a few years ago was Dinosaurs Love Underpants. As soon as I opened it and read it I was giggling and told Gavin on no uncertain terms that he HAD to buy this book for his nephew. I just couldn’t imagine a child (especially a little boy) not finding the story fun! As soon as Elastaboy was old enough I bought a copy for him, and then along came Aliens Love Underpants (E & Mr T’s favourite book apparently). In October I found out another one had been done with Pirates so I bought a copy to give to one of the boys for Christmas or birthday. When Mr Teapot opened it, Elastaboy exclaimed in regret ‘Awww! I’ve been wanting that book!‘ I love that he wanted a book! We explained that we were sure Mr Teapot would share the book with him – the best part of reading books is that it can be a shared experience…
It makes me sad when I hear of parents who don’t read with their children. Last summer on my Mum’s birthday we went for lunch and afterwards popped into Waterstone’s to browse the books (I do this a lot). I dragged her to the children’s section to show her a book I’d found during the Jubilee about the Queen’s royal knickers getting lost. Jokingly my Mum had sat on a seat in the kids section and asked me to read it to her (Do other people do this role reversal game with their parents?). My Mum was tutting and laughing at me putting on the dramatic posh voice as the discovery of the mix up between the picnic hamper and the Queen’s knickers hamper was made. Soon a little girl started watching us, and nervously edged closer and closer to me clearly wanting to join our reading. She looked up at me with big wide eyes and I smiled at her and carried on. When the story was finished I asked her if she’d like to see the book and she shyly nodded and at this point the Mum noticed me and I could tell was about to tell her not to bother me. I smiled at her Mum and said “I think she’d like to hear this story” and handed the little girl the book. The girl burst into a smile as her Mum asked “do you want to read it?” and climbed up next to her Mum to be read to.
That, and the fact that I still quite happily entertain children with imaginary tea and cakes, making stuffed toys ‘talk’, racing Jesus against a camper van across a kitchen floor and all that joyful silliness I guess is why presenting CBeebies is on my bucket list. My Mum’s actually suggested that I try and volunteer somehow to do a storytime for children in a library or bookshop. I’m quite tempted to do that (this is clearly why I fail to get jobs that pay me…I like having fun work way too much)!
What was your favourite book as a child, and are there any new favourites you’ve discovered recently?