So having moved house in the last year, we are still regularly moving things around until we are happy with where we have placed everything in our new home. Although we did the big clear out with countless bags being donated to local charity shops or being disposed of (responsibly of course lol!) before we moved, today was the day to spend another afternoon going through the huge amount of children’s books we have and attempt to get them organised on our book shelf.
The task is always one best done without our children involved as even this simplest of tasks can result in tears or additional drama if we disagree on moving some of our books on to new homes. If it doesn’t result in tears, it often means that they need to touch and read every book that comes out of the box leaving us no time to organise them properly.
At the same time as doing this, I was also thinking through my preparation for some adoption training that I will be doing later this week for our local authority. I still can’t believe that I get the privilege of sharing our story with prospective adopters but that would need to be a whole other blog post. At the current time due to Covid our Local Authority have moved their adoption preparation training online to the zoom platform so that people are not delayed in proceeding with their training.
I have to confess that it is a strange environment when you do the training this way as most of the time you are trying to gauge people’s reactions and level of connection to what you are sharing and I love the interaction and opportunity to chat during the coffee breaks between all of us attending. We work hard on zoom but it is impossible to replicate this within the virtual world we are currently being forced to live and work in.
As part of this new virtual world we have still been attempting to do an icebreaker with those attending so that we don’t just jump straight in to the world of adoption without everyone being able to introduce themselves to the rest of the group. I say all of that to get to the point of this post. The icebreaker activity is to bring either your most unusual item or most treasured or precious item which you show the group and explain why it means so much to you. If you think Primary School show and tell, you wouldn’t be a million miles away from the adult version!
Anyhow, there I was sorting through several boxes of children’s book trying to decide which ones we would keep for sentimental reasons, which ones we would keep because they were either appropriate or stretching reading material for our children and which ones we would pass to our local charity shop when I reached the bottom of the box and unloaded the 2 books shown in my blog entry.
I can’t tell you that they are my most treasured possession or that they were my favourite childhood books but it did cause me to stop and replay all the memories associated with these items.
When we first met Sproglet some 7 1/2 years ago now I remember his foster carer telling us that he loved Fireman Sam and was mad about Lightning McQueen and the Cars movie. Having got to the point of introductions or transitions depending on your preferred term of reference we were visiting him daily before finally bringing him home. As part of those emotionally charged days we were expected to interact with him, play with him, chat with him, take him out, feed him, bath him and put him to bed (not all on the first day we met him of course!)
Anyway, as part of the putting to bed ritual during this time our almost 4 year old soon to be son insisted that the Fireman Sam book was required bed time reading. It then continued to be nightly reading for several months after he moved in with us. It was only eventually replaced with a copy of the Usborne Farmyard Tales book because he loved looking for the duck on each page. Even after all these years I can still remember every opening word for those stories by heart – this is Apple Tree Farm….
We then fast forward a few short weeks and then we start visiting the Gremlin to bring her home to join with her brother. She was only 18 months old at the time so hadn’t discovered the world of Fireman Sam and the risky exploits that he and his team got up to. No, this little girl was already a big fan of all things cuddly and most definitely had chosen pink as her go to colour. The other book in the above picture was her essential bed time reading. We quickly realised though that she was not at all bothered about the story of pink bear but simply expected the bear to move and talk to her and the bedtime event was not over until she was giggling uncontrollably and had the opportunity to hug and kiss the bear.
The reminder of those special memories brought an infusion of joy to an ordinary, mundane task. It reminded me again of how far we have come since those early introductions to each other and made me smile to remember the toddler giggles as we got the bear to do outrageous things or deliberately skipping a page of Sam and his exploits to have a young sleepy voice telling us we’d missed a page because he already knew the story by heart. It also reminded me that in the simplicity of reading those bedtime stories we were already building attachment and trust with each other that continues to today.
We do still read with our children although the content of our books have changed somewhat and Gremlin is more likely to be reading Dork Diaries or Rainbow Fairies to us while Sproglet is going on literal adventures with Bear Grylls and telling us how he could survive in any dangerous terrain because he’s learned from the books.
Gremlin has asked if we can bring pink bear back for a hug this evening although she now fully appreciates that she is really hugging her daddy’s fingers inserted through the book instead of a bear that comes to life but for old times sake and for the giggles I think we will do exactly that.
In the meantime, I do believe I may have just found my most treasured items to share later this week to a room full of strangers who I will hopefully know a whole lot better before the week is out. I can only hope that they like us will one day know the joy of reading treasured books and stories to their children.
Feel free to drop a comment and let me know what your own treasured childhood book was or which book that you read to your children brings similar memories to mind. I’d love to hear from you.