Children Are Made Readers…

One of my most enduring memories of my childhood must be the image of my Mum sat on the sofa with a book. She is still, as she has always been, a huge reader. I’m not sure she is ever without a book she’s reading, except perhaps in that little lull you get when finishing a great story where your mind just wants to absorb what you have read and relive parts before moving on to the next.

As children we always had books. I have some of my favourites still, my Dad used to be able to read ‘The Trouble with Timothy’ without looking at the words and Mum and I are still searching for a penguin classic copy of “Ned the Lonely Donkey” & “The Discontented Pony.”

We have books as a family which I feel is like passing on an inheritance to my children, one of these being “Snow”

My step sister was given this book, pre becoming my step sister but we all grew up with it and I loved it, so much so I’ve purchased a copy for each of our families, my daughter has a copy which sits next to my new favourite “Tiddler” by Julia Donaldson, along with several of her others, Julia’s books are always a pleasure to read.

This week we started a new journey as a family, the journey into learning to read. I’ve had some mixed thoughts over the last term concerning this new adventure, perhaps they are the same as every other Mothers, perhaps not… I will share them with you and you can tell me.

I don’t often sit with a book, in the corner of the sofa like my Mother does. I’m there with my laptop of course, bashing away at the keys or, yes, reading something on it,  but it’s not a physical book.  We also have an Ipad and due to the way the world is, I have started reading the odd ‘book’ on that. That is all very well but it isn’t going to encourage my children to pick up one of their books… no, it’s all Angry Birds. We do have several educational games on the Ipad and she loves those too but it’s just not the same as wallowing in a bed covered in books. Perhaps I need to alter my behaviour…

As I grew I developed a love of books, I love the weight in my hands, the smell of the paper. Libraries and book shops are a treasure trove of wonder for me, I need to think of how I pass this love on to my children. It’s important to me.

School have been busy with the phonics, they seem to be taking a really sensible approach to it to be honest, they are doing a letter a week and really getting involved with it. It seems a more  thorough approach then some of the schools I’ve been hearing about, throwing 2 ‘sounds’ a week at R2 children, (but y’know I’m no teacher) apart from being rather over awed by all the motions and sounds (yes, me. She seems to take it in her stride 😉 ) I’m liking what I’m seeing. This is of course alongside numeracy, topics, pe, cooking and so much else my mind spins!

I was very concerned that she would have to coast wait while some of the others catch with her, she is the oldest in her class and a bright button.  Her nursery started sending her home with books over a year ago, she has already done the level of book that school is now supplying her with. This week she came home with one she has read before; but as she herself explained to me after just 2 weeks at school “Mummy, we know I can do this don’t we but Mrs ——- says I need to prove to her I can!” Which I guess is fair enough, it makes me think ‘Where’s the fire.’ as long as she is not bored and feels she is learning something and is happy at school she can learn at their pace. I can happily say this because I know that I personally will not be stopping reading our books at home together and encouraging her to try… Because I want to make sure they can’t just read; but do it well and become ‘readers’ and that is my task, isn’t it.

So here we enter the world of Biff, Chip and Kipper… I’m wondering if choosing pretty names for my children was an error 😉

And I’d hate to be a pushy Mother. Surely this way, with the slow and steady approach, there is no way we might miss something along the way. Is it not better to be  thorough?  To ensure she covers everything and totally understands each stage, rather then racing ahead just because we can?

I’m hoping that I’m the type of parent that whilst I’m not too pushy, encourages positively.  Because while I appreciate that childhood is a critical time for learning lessons which will set them up for their whole lives, it’s also the most magical and awe inspiring time of there lives too, this wonderful time of being loved and cared for, for playing and discovering, before all the pressure starts with exams, jobs, mortgages, life goals and all the other things that humans find to complicate our lives and make ourselves ‘happy’.


I Heart Me in 2011…

So here we are with week two of I heart Me and to be honest I should not be even attempting to write anything at all! In the last 4 days I have had approximately 12 hours sleep, none of which was more than two hours in length due to my lovely smalls having the most awful dry tickly coughs and runny nose sneezes, my son has also been having nightmares which interrupt my sleep as if he  was physically jumping up and down on me.  This is part of my job as Mummy, yes I bitch about it on twitter and to anyone who listens but that is life. So I’m unfocused and have a tendency to ramble – sorry and all that but I have come to realize since I wrote the last “Me” post that this journey is very important and I need to take it….

So this weeks question, What do I want for Me in 2011?

Simple and yet complicated…  I want to Recapture an Essence of Me

Me in my 20’s working hard (bah not that bit) and clubbing often and late (eeek – not that either) used to also spend a fair bit of time voraciously reading a vast volume of books, dependent on their size of course; it wasn’t unusual to get through 2 maybe 3 novels a week, I can remember my house mates taking the michael out of me for cooking whilst reading.  Now I’m lucky if I get through one a month. Why is this important? Apart from my love of getting lost in fiction to the point it overtakes my every waking though and my enjoyment of a carefully crafted sentence, I have very early memories which continued over the years of my Mum sitting on the sofa with a book in front of her reading for hours, perhaps it is a learned behaviour? If so, then it is one that I am determined to pass on to my children.

Now that woman, the 20 something with every minute of her life filled with some now seemingly selfish pursuit also loved going to the theatre.  A live performance is rapture. The hushed anticipation of the crowd, the lights dimming, curtain swishing, hanging onto every enunciated word and action even the binoculars have their own delight. I love it and I miss it and I want that back…  Not so hard you would think? Well, one thing I knew about my husband before marriage is that he has no interest in going to the theatre, it’s one of those things I chose to take on board at the time as something we wouldn’t do together, he’s probably go if I nagged him but his reluctance to go would mar my experience… *sigh* that we could choose who we love 😉

And now it’s confession time….  That girl, the 20 something… yeah her. She spent 4 years at catering college  (not my original plan for my life, that was to study English at A level and then some form of degree, fate cocked that plan up good and proper at 17 but that will have to be some other post…) So whilst I stand by my claims to be #notadomesticgoddess I can cook, I used to cook pretty well. I also have a “new” audience to cook for, not just the husband with his need for plain fuel but two untrained palettes that could do with something more interesting.  What about me? I love good tasting food and yearn for better flavours and more interesting meals….

So here it is, a pledge if you like… Start it slow and two by two…

I will attempt to read and enjoy 2 books a month making sure some of this reading time is infront of the small people (with a cuppa for preference).

I will cajole, bribe and drag a theatre enjoying friend to at least 2 performances this year (all free tickets will be rewarded by a blog review).

and I will make 2 “new” dishes per month, regardless to the whinging and unappreciativeness of the consumers, I need variety and twice a month is not a lot to ask at all!!!

So there we are, what I want for 2011, for me…



Twi-litten up

As you know I could be referred to as a woman of a certain age (don’t worry this isn’t another age obsessed post) and as a woman of a certain age you could assume there would be no place in my life for a series of (albeit incredibly well written) teenage fantasy books.  You would of course be wrong, or you might be shaking your head and saying to yourself “I’m a woman of a certain age and I adore twilight!”

I knew Twilight has affected my life quite drastically when it dawned on me that I had managed to read all four books in three days and then started at the beginning again, the romance, the unrequited passion, the tension..  *sighs*

It’s true I do have a history of getting obsessive with fiction, I must have read my entire collection of Terry Pratchett books many times each and I have almost every book he has written.  Harry Potter stormed through my life like a new broom chasing a quiddich ball, I still have a very special place in my heart for the arrogant Mr.Darcy, that love affair has lasted nearly 26 years.  If I  enjoy a book by an author I tend to search out their other books until I can find no more, reading is my non-computer escape hatch and a key relaxation tool.  I was very concerned when I was pregnant with my son because I lost the concentration power to read a book at all, thankfully that has returned and not a day too soon!

The fantasy genre is definitely my favourite,  I like my books to be different from real life situations,  I like to discover new worlds and have vivid pictures painted in my head of a different type of place or existence. I love wizards and witches, Elves, Dwarfs, dragons and magic. I like to laugh with them, to be swept along on wild adventures.  Crime/adventure books feature largely in our house too, both my husband and I read out way through a rain forest of books about forensic anthropologists, detectives and CSI’s I usually only read them once though, I pick up the odd romance sometime but not so often these days, I always return back to fantasy..

Twilight is a little different to my usual fantasy book, Forks is in Washington USA, the Earth, not a fictional disc of a planet sat on the back of four huge elephants standing on a giant turtle swimming through space.  Bella is a little pathetic at times but I always thought I would be a pile of putty if Edward started nibbling at my neck too, she’s not however riding through a medievil world of Elves and sorcery as a reincarnated soul trying to put straight past mistakes…  and Edward, well, wow, I remain speechless…. There is no comparison in my usual realms of fictional fantasy…

Ask me which of the Twilight Saga books is my favourite and I will reply without hesitation Midnight Sun, Twilight from Edwards point of view, finding out what was going on behind those sultry black looks and self control was awe inspiring and frustrating because it ended too soon.

By now you will have gathered I am firmly TeamEdward (eerk I hate those team things) Jacob is far too normal and obtainable for me even if he is a werewolf rippling with muscles and animal magnetism, there is no competition…

The vampirical world of the Cullen’s is almost additively attractive, they harm no one, they are fast and strong, spellbindingly attractive, they don’t age, they are tantalizingly dangerous and hunt mountain lions and people wonder why Bella might find that world desirable?  Let me think – I’m good to go, anyone else?

In fact the characters are so enthralling, like a spider drawing in it prey on a sticky web, I have heard tell of women getting peeved at their poor unsuspecting husbands for not being so golden tongued or as deathly attractive as Edward….  Wasn’t me…..

Before someone gets up on their huge white stallions and thinks of charging to the rescue of those poor Edward coddled husbands let me tell you what my dear other half suggested when we were packing for our holiday last week, he asked me if I were going to pack the Twilight books and films, I replied that it wasn’t my intention, he smiled suggestively with his eyes twinkling and said he would really like it if I read all the books at least four times each on the journey there and chuckled with mischief! Obviously the effect of the Twilight Saga is further reaching than I had realised!!