It’s a strange thing that being on holiday, with it’s new rhythms, has made it easier to read together but harder to blog. I began writing this on Tuesday but with no chance to Write again before 4am on Friday. Nonetheless, this holiday has been good for us. We have been sleeping lots (and not), drinking lots of water (and wine), playing, reading, moisturising, splashing about in the enormous Victorian roll top bath, slowly learning about potties and wee and (weeing on floors everywhere), learning that carsick children are best not to wear a hat in the car on a warm day on windy shropshire roads, that the velcro on your child’s coat will always be more interesting than the rhino in front of your car at the safari park and – of course – that reading is still best. Followed closely by Abney and Teal.
Monkeyface has been gently educating her grandad, my dad, about kids and learning. We met for one meal a day culminating in the eye-watering extravagance of a local restaurant sending a chef and sous chef to our hired kitchen to prepare a three course meal for us all for my father’s birthday. Don’t burst anything – readers of the blog know there are days these days one has to decide if a sandwich is affordable. The treat was not on us. All I had to do was prepare the table and I didn’t make a particularly good fist of that, forgetting napkins etc. Anyway, we had a splendid time and Emilia got to join in in her pretty dress before going – extremely reluctantly – to bed.
Through all of this, my dad who is profoundly interested in books and learning but not children – couldn’t wrap his head around the books we were reading together. It was interesting realising the journey Emilia and I have come on, back to when I found it difficult to read to and with her when she was a baby for the precise reason my dad was talking about. Because she couldn’t then interact with me of the book, and of course couldn’t read it herself, I struggled to understand quite why it was actually still age-appropriate to read things to her beyond textured picture books. I’m glad I stuck with it, but it was a real struggle for me to begin with.
This time with Monkeyface has been precious. Time we rarely get together. And we have taken a lot of opportunities to read together this week. It was such great timing that my dad hired this cottage for us. Without it, we would not have justified the cost we couldnt afford to take time out together that we all badly needed.
I love that after this week she can now finish the sentences of Snail and the Whale, and that she knows so much of Each Peach Pear Plum by heart, that you can mark the days that have passed by her development. It’s the secret garden of parenting small children.
It’s been a great week, showing Emilia new animals, getting up close to sheep on Cleehill, sharing jaw-dropping views, her initiating cuddles and hand-holding and lots of laughter.
And making her grandfather happy on his birthday – normally only exclusive things with a high price tag can do that.


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