By 7pm on most days I look like a cross between Beetlejuice with a hangover and Cruella De Vil without the fur coat. By 7pm, I’ve usually cleared up thousands of Lego Duplo bricks 19 gazillion times, changed a dozen or so nappies, ran 6.3 million laps of the house (with a newborn in one arm) in hot pursuit of a toddler who appears hell bent on doing himself some physical damage and completed the same Gruffalo jigsaw puzzle 17.4 billion times.
Yes, by 7pm I am exhausted. And it is usually with great delight that I announce to my 2 year old that his bath is ready and waiting. I even take delight in the inevitable “discussion” we have where he explains to me (surprisingly coherently) why he isn’t getting in the bath yet and I explain to him that he most definitely is. The next step is usually a protest over the fact he has to get in the bath followed by another protest 10 minutes later because he has to get out of the bath.
But then comes my favourite part of the day. And it isn’t just my favourite part because I know I’m about to enjoy half an hour or so to myself. It’s my favourite part of the day because I get to see my little boy fall more in love with books every single night.
We choose a story from his 65 story collection of Thomas the Tank Engine books, he climbs into bed and I read to him. He then takes his book and pretends to read it himself, before we say goodnight to all the characters who feature on the back page.
It is quiet time. It’s time where he just listens and laps up the story, time when snuggles in and delights in the tales of those timeless talking trains. Then it’s lights out, a big cuddle and time for me to draw cars on his back with my finger. Then I say goodnight.
He’s so non stop during the day that these quiet still moments are ones I really do cherish.
We’ve done bath, book and bed since Oliver was just a few months old, at which point he was more interested in trying to eat the book than enjoying the story. But has he has gotten older, he has had a bigger role in leading the routine, choosing his story from a selection. It’s a Thomas the Tank story every night at the moment, but up until recently he was in love with ‘I Took The Moon For a Walk.‘
I expect it will change again at some point. I don’t really mind what the story is as long as he’s getting as much joy from his stories as I do.
And as for me, by 7:30pm, I feel somewhat refreshed after a quiet half an hour with my eldest… Still look like Beetlejuice though.
Post inspired by the Book Trust’s #bathbookbed campaign.