My 3yo daughter loves books. (Now this isn’t entirely unusual for a 3yo – but I mean she *really* loves them).
We consciously don’t have a TV in the house, so books and more recently, audiobooks are very much her ‘thing’.
She is very strict on her evening/before bed routine. There has to be 2-3 books read before bed. Or you’d better have a damn good excuse. Or a damn good bribe.
Might sound like I’m complaining.
I’m not of course. Its a joy.
Usually, ok, usually its a joy.
There are those occasions where Dad might just like you to go straight to sleep, so he can put his feet up for 3 minutes before he collapses into bed himself. (3 minutes, is that too much to ask?)
Anyway, when we’re at home, her stories more often than not, are dutifully read.
But one night we were away at a motel.
And 3yo was preparing for bed and asked which stories we brought to read to her.
Sensing my indecision, fierce grey storm clouds gathered around her cutesy flannelette clad jim-jam shoulders. Fearing an outbreak of brutal toddler-force warfare, I blurted out:
“Well I don’t have any stories sweety, because I have something even better”
“I made some stories up for you”
“Oh. What about?”
“About a cow. And she’s a clever cow and she does, um… clever . . . stuff”
“What’s her name.”
“Her name. Yes, well, it’s, ah, Belinda. Belinda the Cow.”
This arrangement seemed satisfactory. We had an unspoken cease fire, at least for the moment.
So I made up some stories about Belinda the Cow and her adventures on the farm. And they proved so popular they became a required part of the pre-bed landscape.
Now, there has to be 2-3 books read before bed. And a Belinda story. Or you’d better have a damn good excuse. Or a damn good bribe.
Material for the stories was not difficult to gather. We live on a farm with some cows and sheep and horses. My wife is a vet as well. So 3yo had been out with mum from an early age helping sick horses, delivering alpaca babies or giving vaccinations to dogs.
Then I thought, well, she loves audiobooks, so maybe I’ll record some of these stories so she can listen to them over and over – like she does with some of those other audiobooks.
And that’s what I’m doing at the moment. I’ll post them online for free listening. Your little ones might enjoy them as much as mine has.
Work in progress, so watch this space.