I always allow myself a whinge and a moan about how all the children are growing up too fast. We all do don’t we? It’s the first time in 14 years that I’ve not had a child under 5 in the house.
Most of the time I think this is quite good, they’re all growing into lovely people and are able to dress themselves, feed themselves and sleep all night, becoming the independent little people that I’ve wanted them to become eventually. Occasionally though the big red flashing light of ‘they’re not babies anymore’ makes me feel a little bit sad. Littlest girl deciding that she wants to read her own bedtime stories is a huge example of this.
Bedtime story time has been my favourite time of day ever since I became a parent. I promise it’s not just because it signals the countdown to a glass of wine and trashy tv. Not even because it signals mummy clocking off time and peace and quiet. I love it because it’s a snuggly bit of one on one time. It’s the children knowing that they have my absolute undivided attention while we cuddle up and have a magical adventure in a made up land before they nod off for their sweet dreams. It’s the most precious time. I want to say it’s calm but then I remembered last night littlest girl and I seeing how many different kind of hugs we could do after reading Hugless Douglas. So maybe not calm, but relaxed.
The boys are 12 and 13 and they ditched my bedtime stories years ago. They do permit me to chat books with them, and occasionally throw me out the odd recommendation (Thank you for the Hunger Games boys) I’m a mean, some have said almost victorian, mum!I still insist the half hour before lights out is spent reading, as opposed to TV or playing on various consoles. I’m not sure how much longer they’ll do this happily and without protest but it’s still working at present.
Eldest girl reads to herself too, but she does allow me to sit and listen to her! This is now what littlest girl has started to insist on too. I’m still fine to snuggle up on her bed with her (if I can squeeze on amongst her entourage of soft toys that is) She began a couple of months ago insisting we read a page each. This has progressed now to her wanting to read the whole book.
It’s lovely it really is, seeing how well she can read and how she really really loves reading and books like her elder siblings. That little baby who’s cot I used to lean over with tales of the Gruffalo and Room on the Broom (mummy you have ginger hair in a plait. Are you a witch?) she’s now sat in the bottom bunk reading me fairy tales and progressing from picture books. The effort she puts into the voices makes me just want to squeeze her she’s so adorable! Her expression is beautiful and at times her little voice reading stories with such enthusiasm does bring a tear.
The selfish part of me though, sees another thing I’m no longer necessary for, it’s a list that is growing longer as the months pass. I should be proud about this, and I am in the main. I do just need to allow myself a self indulgent, nostalgic trip back to the past though. Where mummy was essential for the bedtime stories and singing lullabies in order for sleep to happen. When I could stroke little foreheads and noses with my thumb until their little eyelids began to droop.
I’m incredibly happy books and reading still form part of all four children’s bedtime routine. I’m hugely grateful that I’m still occasionally allowed to read to littlest girl at bedtime.
The day no one wants me to read to them at all I may just weep!!
Until that day though I’ll continue to sneak a couple of pages of Barry the Fish with Fingers, and be satisfied with the accolade of ‘best Mr Jelly voice’…..and Hugless Douglas himself can’t cuddle like me!
But wont SOMEONE let me tell them a bedtime story!!