E has always been a lover of books, from very very little she has gravitated toward that over anything else and I would definitely describe her as a book worm. She loves all kinds of books, story books, rhyming books, information books, free leaflets that come through the door – anything with the written word. We must have read every day for the past 5 years of her life, ok maybe not newborn but I actually cannot recall a time that we have not read with her at least once a day and she doesn’t even compute bedtime without a story. For her it just goes together; like salt and pepper, bread and butter – me and you! When she was about 2 she used to recite her favourite bedtime book so although obviously she couldn’t read she would tell us the bedtime story, join in or in fact correct you should you ‘accidentally’ miss a page in the attempt to speed up bedtime!
Books and reading just seem to be E’s thing, she is very studious in her ways. Physically, not so much. She has always had to be coaxed and encouraged to get on a bike, a scooter or to climb and that is still the case now to an extent, she just isn’t interested and if parenting has taught me anything it is to play to their strengths and they will flourish. So although she has the bikes, scooter, skates and we will continue to give her opportunities and encourage that, for now I will nurture her love of all things books.
The library is one of her most favourite places of all and she will still choose to go there over anywhere else with me. It’s not what it used to be with little miss R around to pull books off the shelves but we all enjoy it anyway, hopefully there will be a day that she will sit still and read with us too. Maybe.
Hearing E learn to read herself has been the most rewarding thing and it still amazes us both that she can read most words now and loves to read anything, any sign, menu, anything to practice, even if that does mean she reads my text messages and notifications on my phone! When we read together now she often tells me that she could actually read this herself, of course I am super proud of her and it is an amazing skill everyone should have, but I do not want the moment to come where she would rather read to herself and not with me. I so love it, I love to share her passion and because it usually means we sit close, she cuddles into me and time stands still just for a moment. So I will continue to do my best, to read in a way she loves in the hope that she will want me to do it forever – or at least a few more years.
I think she was about 3 and a half when she got into chapter books and for her 4th birthday she received the Roald Dahl collection. She adores them. We must have read one every week since, now this isn’t a chore for me at all. I adore Roald Dahl and reading to her knowing how much she loves it has to be a huge highlight in most days. I may not be able to be the physical mother for her, the one who can roll around at softplay, have running races in the park or play football in the garden but I can definitely sit and read 15 books when she wants me to, which is frequently. Seeing the delight on her face, the wonder in her eyes as her gaze follows mine along the lines is a real pleasure to witness. To prompt questions and discussions about the story or the information we have read and learnt about is an absolute joy for us both.
She definitely has her favourites that we have read over and over again recently and that is Danny the Champion of the World and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – so when World Book Day (or week as in E’s school) came around and the letter landed in her book bag there was no hesitation from my little lady and before I had even read the whole letter she exclaimed – “I will be Mr Willy Wonka”. This is our first World Book Day as E is in reception and I have to say I have been a little blindsided.
So I set to work. Now I am reasonably creative, can put things together and have visions, I am certainly no stranger to Pinterest! However I cannot really sew and at just 5 years old and reasonably petite it is pretty tricky to find a costume for books that are perceived to be for slightly older children. So I scoured charity shops for purple coats, jackets, cardigans, anything in her size but to no avail. We ended up buying the standard Willy Wonka costume but it only came in age 7-9!
She wore the coat (sleeves rolled up) and the bow tie with some simple black leggings and a shirt. Then I teamed it with a top hat fascinator, a cane and some ‘Wonka vision’ sunglasses. I also made her a personalised Wonka bar complete with Golden ticket with coloured paper and sharpies! Finally I backcombed her hair to complete the look. I have to say she was very impressed.
It’s actually a funny choice for someone who is allergic to milk But for today when she came out of school instead of her fruit or nut snack that she is happy greets her every day there it was, on her car seat was a glint of golden paper under the yellow wrapper of her very own special Wonka Bar. There was an actual audible scream of delight, that she had got some dark chocolate and a marshmallow and that in fact I had made the effort to make the bar for her. To make a Mummy Golden Ticket just for her!! To make her day that little bit special. To be honest the pleasure was all mine to see the amazement on her face, that happy smiling enthusiastic person whom I love more than the world. We came home, read book after book and acted them out changing the lounge into a pond, or a jungle or a school. We had a blast. She told me I was the best mummy ever and that she loved me more than the stars in the sky. That today had been the best day ever and she wished every day was today. The effort, the late night last minute making and the frantic shopping were all worth it for her to have the most special day doing her most favourite thing.
I hope she always has something that fills her with as much joy as reading does now. World Book Week – see you next year.