Fabien went to the Bird's nest after lunch today to watch the athletics. Sophie and Mummy spent the afternoon resting and listening to Peter and the Wolf read by Dame Edna and performed by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (yet another great present from Sophie's magic godmother Joan if I remember correctly - we're grateful always for your excellent gift-buying taste).
The way Sophie and I enjoy reading has evolved over the last 2 years.
Shortly after birth, I used to read the Economist to her (it was my solution for catching up on my own personal reading without feeling that I was ignoring her).
About 4 months I put her in a bumbo seat facing me and held the book open on my lap so she could watch me signing with the words. Equally often, we'd sit and read together with her on my lap.
This is an early photo of her happily flipping pages of a magazine - Right side up!
This evolved later on to reading as a social activity with her other little playgroup pals. Here are Sophie and Esteban reading board books from Auntie Jacqueline. It's actually quite funny because this photo was taken a couple of months ago, and Sophie had already been told that I was pregnant with Baby 2 (she is reading "Waiting for Baby"), and Esteban just had a new baby brother - he is reading "our new baby". Self-Help Books have a toddler niche market!
Currently, she owns about 70 to 80 children's books in a variety of languages, but we take out about 25 to 30, placed on 2 shelves around her height, so that she can take out and put away by herself. The rest of the books are kept away in a cupboard (out of sight and reach) and rotated regularly to keep them all interesting.
Peter and the Wolf is currently (again) Sophie's book of the week and we have to read it everyday. Sometimes Sophie substitutes her own name for Peter, and triumphantly declares that Sophie caught the wolf and took it with the hunters to the zoo.
Did I ever tell you that I adore children's musical tales? Especially Peter and the Wolf - we have it in quite a few different versions, so I guess Sophie has inherited that part of my musical tastes. Our recent fun activity involves a narration of the story (with a remote control so that we can skip of the 'boring bits'!) and we listen to various orchestral compositions together. We have slowly made our way through Romeo and Juliet and Pictures at an Exhibition (Картинки с выставки – Воспоминание о Викторе) . On Mussorgsky's gorgeous romantic piece - if anyone knows where to find Viktor Hartman's paintings illustrated in a children's book to accompany the music, do tell me please. I'd love to be able to use this "window" when she is interested in listening to me tell her stories with music, before she goes to school and listens to the Wiggles.
Lots of our favourite books are gifts: Where the Wild Things Are (Auntie Elaine) and Goodnight Moon (Auntie Liyi). Anyone with a toddler will also recognise the names of Sandra Boynton, Beatrix Potter, Dr Seuss and Eric Carlyle.... However, amongst all these classics, there is one book that has been special: My mum goes to work by Kes Gray The opening lines (yes - I've memorised them!) are "My mummy goes to work, but I know she still loves me. My mummy goes to work, but she thinks about me all the time. " It was all extremely reassuring to Sophie to be read all this when I went back to work.
We read that book before I went to work Every Single Morning, till the entire book and illustrations are imprinted forever in my memory. I think I'll know all the words even if I get Alzheimer's -- Together with this indelible image: