Your next bookandbed service has been delayed

What a jumbled up upside-down dishwashed day this was.

On paper, it’s all good. Sun’s out, sky’s blue, but my god you wouldn’t have known it in bookandbed towers.

An insignificant conversation from yesterday had knocked me a tad out of kilter, reminding me how much I had missed of my daughter’s life over the last 12+ months and how little I can do about that, added to my already grinding dissatisfaction towards the limitations of our home, about which we can do little for the foreseeable, got me into a funk today that I just couldn’t shake.

I tried having a talk to myself about perspective and that this was just a bad humour, but nothing I tried really worked. Shame on me. It wasnt helped by less than 8 hours’ notice that I needed to be an hour earlier for our childcare, Webex issues and – finally and cataclysmically – signalling issues outside my home station. I can’t say I’ve ever been cheered up by a complete rail meltdown before, especially when there’s a dolled-up childminder and a feisty two-year old waiting for me impatiently the other side of the impasse, but after crying all the way to the railway station, I actually burst out laughing when I saw the surfeit of boards proclaiming

CANCELLED 

CANCELLED 

CANCELLED 

CANCELLED 

Sorry, I went a bit Douglas Coupland on you there. Cheers NetworkRail for the giggles. Some days, THOSE DAYS when you’re (okay, I’M) just being a brat, those seem to be the days when the universe just piles it on, like it’s saying “OI! Sense of humour failure! Are you getting it yet?” Eventually I got it and just shrugged it off.

What’s this got to do with books and toddlers, I hear you ask? Well, it doesn’t. You got me there. But as I got home (finally) with a toddler nutcase trying to do the Plank on everything she could find (remember that web craze about 18 months ago, with people kiling themselves, balancing small parts of their anatomy in unlikely, precarious and usually equally lethal locations?) Well, Monkey has come late to the craze. So I thought I’d best make use of the large, currently unPlanked, piles of books I photographed for the Pledge and distract her from a premature maiming (and a trip to A&E thereby critically delaying the amount of time to elapse until I can apply the bottle of wine in my rucksack to my face) by actually reading some of them to her.

A pile of favourite books does set one back a bit in the attention-span quarters, but as mrbookandbed rightly pointed out, ever the voice of reason yet in a home where one of us walked home crying in public there isn’t much competition, “surely it’s better that she’s interested in looking at the books at all, even if she isn’t listening to you..?”

Monkeyface chose Not A Box for me to read to her first and we almost made it through. The thing about reading a book that you haven’t read together for a while is the staggering development that you notice. In the child, of course. We’ve already established my own development has a way yet to go. When we first bought the book, the rabbit in various positions in the box represented just that: the fun of getting in and out of a box in various ways. Which is of course, a hoot. But tonight, Monkeyface could identify what all of the things Rabbit was pretending the box was, when previously reading was stilted by my ongoing explanations of what each plaything was intended to be. It’s really a wonderful thing to see a book slowly unfold its meaning to a child, over time.

We were maybe a page from the end before Shark in the Park was grasped (and has even been spirited off to bed with said child, who went to bed holding it behind her back, as if I couldn’t observe it whilst walking behind her!) and I was surprised that she still remembered so much, almost by heart, in spite of our perhaps not having looked at it for quite a few months. The joy of the book is toddler Buddhism of sorts (chanting) and the antithesis of buddhism. SHOUTING!

THERE’s A SHARK IN THE PARK!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We moved on to but by this time we were into a book-reading jumble-sale with the monkey dipping into random pages and literally tossing the book aside. So she probably thinks that Monkey Puzzle, Julia Donaldson’s story of a monkey who’s lost his mum, starts of well and then veers off to include cats who want to get out of the story (There are No Cats in This Book), via a bathtub (Big Red Bath) and back to finding the monkey again.

Still. It was a really lovely end to a day. Books just have that habit of getting your head out of your backside.

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