It’s a complete coincidence that the last blog I wrote was on our last not-so-much-of-a-holiday-as-a -civil-war and the very next time I’ve felt up to blogging is the very day I’ve just booked a holiday. It’s taken 5 months to even think about writing another post, but in that time we’ve moved house (a feat I think may not have been any more difficult or stressful if I’d had to take the old place apart and move it brick by brick) and are in the middle/ beginning of a renovation which will probably take the rest if our lives. The monkey didn’t react well to the move which has taken a huge amount of everyone’s time and energy. I seemed to stop sleeping over four years ago but since we moved, I seem to hit a physical wall every day about 7pm. My body just seems to demand every second of energy conservation that it could. I hope it’s sated because everything seems to have gone to hell in a handcart in the meantime.
Almost overnight though, this appears to have gone away. The desire to blog hit me at exactly the same time as sleeplessness returned.
2am came and knock knock knock back came a familiar voice…
Fortunately I didn’t heed it, and didn’t get up to shred/ write long overdue thank you letters/ work or blog.
Instead, I wrote this sitting in the country’s most unlikely branch of John Lewis having had a cup of tea and a sandwich. I have learned a little something in the five months I’ve been asleep.
So, books. The monkey is still wrapped up in books and – at four – we’ve been usurped as reading influencers. Every night she likes to mimic her teacher and pick a SuperReader who will be reading that night’s bedtime story.
She’s collected the entire set of the Slinky Malinki tales and so it’s usually one of more of those.
I’d have really loved to get a chance to play with these babies, today.
I had just collected them from John Lewis before I sat down to noodle about and I think they rock. I did also buy the kid some Lego – movie-tie-in Lego won. Not only am I teaching my daughter to love books, but am also to consume …
Along with Slinky Malinki, the Gruffalo’s Child is enjoying something of a revival and that’s what we read at bedtime. I got to be Super Reader. Good times
Every cloud has a silver lining.
There are always upsides to be had, even when your one holiday a year this year happens to be with a very difficult family member. That it turns out to be so grey and overcast that you can’t use the pool even though you spent a ton on swimming stuff to try encourage your three year old to swim. That you envisage spending the rest of your holiday in your room having narrowly avoided being run over by said family member, presumably by accident but you never can tell.
So the upside? I get to read The Ocean at The End of The Lane by Neil Gaiman and to get halfway through Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall. And to update my poor overlooked blog.
And there are only two days left to go. If I get out of here alive, I promise to be a better reader, blogger, parent and human. Promise
Writing a post after a long break of not posting is a bit like going out for a drink with someone you used to see so much of, but you’ve both been out of contact for aeons. Will they still like you? Will they forgive you for not being able to drink several bottles of wine and not knowing any cool bars any more? Hopefully you rock up, a little shyly, and the reasons they actually liked you in the first place still exist, even if you no longer wear the nice shoes.
So, here’s my extremely uncool post after almost 2 months of silence. There has been reading, there has been laughter but mostly we’ve still been reading the same books we were reading the last time we met and trying to all get through the flat and house conveyancing in one piece. The monkey still wants the Mr Men, interspersed with some Wishing Chair adventures (we’ve almost made it to the second book – just a few pages away.) I guess this is what happens when they start to have a mind of their own – they want fishfingers for every meal, are not on speaking terms with vegetables and will wear the pink open-toed sparkly shoes, damn you, whether it’s raining or not.
But all other human endeavour has been sucked into the vortex that is selling and buying a home. It’s been less of a roller-coaster, more of a haunted house kind of ride so far. I’m ashamed to say, that I have finished precisely no books of my own this year. I see long train journeys in my future, however, and so there will be time to make it up to my intellect. But for now, I’ve been awake since 4.30am worrying that the roofers still aren’t on the roof of the house I want to sell, fretting that we haven’t got our hands on the draft lease extension that has cost more than my extremely expensive wedding reception and grinding my teeth away in the knowledge that every day that passes brings us closer to our mortgage agreement’s expiry.
But, I promise I will try harder and find some nice cool
bars books for us, next time I write. I may even wear something nice for you. Then again, I may still look like the mad old woman who decided to have a wee in our drive yesterday. But as you long as we still like each other, that will be ok, won’t it?
The kid sometimes just isn’t all that into me. It’s not her, it’s me. I’m not daddy and it drives me around the bend. And it hurts.
Today, after what’s best termed an altercation from her, she apologised and said ” I love you, but sometimes I don’t.”
Ouch, much. Swallow, gulp. “Why?” I asked her.
“Because sometimes I want you to do something and you don’t do it.”
“Well, I want you to teach me to read and you haven’t done it yet.”
I’ll take that…
Our life is moving on at quite a pace, finally, as we prepare to move out of London. We’ve accepted an offer on our flat, and have put an offer in on a new home. But for all that the big picture changes and provides excitement and promise, our domestic life is continually throwing up nuggets of joy.
Having served up the Monkey’s breakfast this morning on her Hungry Caterpillar plate, she proceeded to tell me the perennial Eric Carle story, even though I cannot remember how long it has been since we last read it. Such a treat.
And tonight as I tried to get her into bed, pronto, she decided she wanted to read the Alphablocks letters that came free with her magazine. Unwilling to end up with Alphablocks stuff all over the floor just as we were expecting a visit from our financial advisor, I tried to fob her off with looking at the magazine instead. Imagine my shock when she spelled out (phonetically) the words on the page f-o-x. Thinking this a fluke, I arranged the letters b-e-d. Buh eh du, she announced. “What does that spell?” “BED!” she shrieked.
“YOU”RE READING!” I declared… “Oh my goodness, who taught you to do that? Was it Diane? (her teacher)” thinking they must be really under some Gove-style kosh to get 3 year olds reading phonetically and reading Chekhov at nursery by now and I must be really out of touch. Imagine my pride when she pointed at me and said “NO! YOU DID!”
A very good night to you all. I’m so chuffed.
On my way to school with monkey this morning we were chatting about some of the questions Id asked her the day before about daddy bookandbed. Namely what he did for a job. Trying to explain just what a Technical Design Architect who works from the bedroom is to a 3.5 year was always going to be tricky.
Soon conversation moved onto what mummy does which was suspiciously easy: mummy helps teach grown ups how to do things on the computer. Kind of.
Monkeyface: mummy, are you a teacher?
Me: err kind of
Monkeyface: mummy, do you just teach grown ups?
MF: ooow, don’t you teach children?
Me: no darling
MF: ooow, but I wanted you to teach me how to read books… Will you teach me how to read books when we get home
We’re having lots of fun revisiting our childhood and reading the Mr Men with the Monkey.
They’re quite funny in themselves, but the Monkey is giving us lots of laughs too.
Here’s a sample, from tonight alone:
Mrbookandbed (reading Mr Dizzy to Monkey):What’s small and furry and likes cheese?
Monkey: Me and a mouse!
Monkey: Why do you keep saying “by Roger Hargreaves” when you read these books…???
When I was a kid, mum really disapproved of the Mr Men
Books. I have no idea why, either. Maybe it’s because she couldn’t stand them and restricted my access to them that I still feel a frisson, a satisfied thrill, when I see them. They’re so knowing and funny – to this day I consider them kind of literary punk.
Because I consider myself, probably hilariously inaccurately, as dancing to my own tune, they speak to me. So I’ve bought the kid the boxed set. Hmm. Who are they for, I wonder?
The monkey is going to be staying with my mum for a few days so that mrbookandbed can finalise matters at bookandbed towers just before we unleash our home to an unsuspecting marketplace, prepare and head off to a funeral as well as keep things going in our day jobs.
Laying out her clothes to help mum a bit for the next few days, I found a surprise in one of the bedroom drawers:
My mum has ordered a job lot of Ladybird books for the monkey. Mum has happy memories of the collection of ladybird books she raised me on and all parents like to hand on a tradition they enjoyed.
The monkey is really inquisitive about the books – so much so that it’s barely 915am and we’ve already read about 7 books together…