I’ve decided that is the best subtitle ever. It belongs to the rather delightful if not entirely amiable Hilaire Belloc poem “Matilda,” which I found in the Oxford Book of Poetry for Children. It is one of many children’s poetry anthologies I am perusing these days because in addition to books, I like to read a few poems during our morning story time. I’ve discovered, however, that about an hour of story time is all the children can tolerate; this usually works out to one chapter, two picture books, and a few poems or rhymes.
That being said, while they’re attention is understandably limited at any one sitting, they have shown a real enthusiasm for the time itself. So whereas I thought I would begin integrating “morning time” only 2-3 days per week, this past week we completed four; it was unintentional really, having noticed the children being a bit unruly on one of the “free” mornings, I therefore offered to read to them, the response to which were shouts of joy. Still, I rather like the flexibility of including free mornings in the week; and I’ve noticed, the children are more intentional with what they do with their time when that time is less abundant.
As am I. When they chose to play outside this week it gave me time to make a few phone calls, yes, but also to prioritize my own literary enrichment. Because finding time to read is hard when you’re a parent. That’s not to say that children’s books aren’t enriching—a good children’s book most certainly is. And fortunately, there are many good children’s books.
We get our books from the library. And we get so many of them that we needed a second account to carry the load. So this week my son received his first library card—or adventure card, as I like to call it. We’ve already maxed out his checkouts. And mine. I’m not sure the librarian believed me when I told him we read 6-10 books each (week) day. Just this week, in fact, we read about 45 books—one of which, to be fair, we read 14 separate times (and they each count, let me tell you).
Speaking of books (still), I found a few gems while browsing a local antique shop: French Fairy Tales by Paul Delarue, The Pied Piper of Hamelin by Robert Browning (ill. Kate Greenway), Oxford Book of Poetry for Children, and A Book of Children’s Literature by Lillian Hollowell. All of them look great but I am especially excited about the latter, which looks to be a bit of a precursor to the likes of Gladys M. Hunt’s Honey for a Child’s Heart.
So I was winning with books, obviously, but loosing with our nature walks; The end of week tally: TWO. That’s right, no milestones here. Unless you count the fact that my little bird put her own shoes on—which I do, so when she used the word “frustrated” later that same evening I thought perhaps we were fourteen years in the future and I was already raising a pubescent teenage girl complaining about curfew, clothing, or what would undoubtedly be an old car. Sigh. Nature walks won’t stop the inevitable, I know, but perhaps they’ll stave it off a while longer.