There is more than a hint of Groundhog Day about stay at home parenting, routine rules and things happen in a certain order at a certain time, neglect routine at your own peril. Nothing is more repetitive than reading the same turgid books over and over and over again. As anyone with a baby knows these books are here to challenge our sanity, spirit and will to live.
The most evil of all the baby books are the ones titled, “That’s Not My …..” for example, “That’s Not My Dog/Cat/Mouse/Sheep/Horse/Cow/Lion/Tiger, etc, It’s Tail Is Too Fluffy” after reading a few of these books you begin to think “This Isn’t My Life It’s Far Too Painful” or “That’s Not My Gun It Isn’t Loaded”. The series is so out of touch with reality that I have taken it upon myself to write to the publishers with some suggestions of my own; “That’s Not My Daddy I Look More Like The Milk Man” could be a big seller, or, “That’s Not My Mummy I’ve Got Two Daddies” has a more contemporary feel to it.
I try my best to mix things up with regular excursions to the library and am amazed at some of the titles out there. “It Hurts When I Poop” really? There does not need to be a book on this subject, just spike his/her milk bottle with a shot of espresso, problem solved. Some of the titles are misleading; “I Love My Daddy” should in fact be called “Please Love Me More Than Mummy”. “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” carries the misleading message that if you gorge yourself on junk food you will in fact grow up to be beautiful, one from the McDonalds marketing department perhaps?
A more pleasing phase which alas seems to be over for now was Max’s obsession with animal books. The biggest test for the parent is to come up with a suitable noise for a hippopotamus, I managed to drag a strange wheezy sound from the pits of my lungs, puff my cheeks out, bulge my eyes and wobble my head a bit, a pitiful mockery of a hippo impersonation.
Max’s appreciation for literature goes up a notch just before bed time, spotting some of the tell tale signs that he will soon be sent to Cotland, dim lights, soft music, comfort blanket, not at all like Scotland, he makes a desperate grab for as many books as possible and thrusts them at us. Who could deny such a thirst for learning or such a devious scheme to stall bedtime?
Max’s current favourite ‘novel’ is titled “My First 100 Trucks” a concept that presumably was dreamt up to ensure there are future generations of truckers. I estimate I have read (pointed at pictures whilst saying “oooh” and “wow” is probably more accurate) this book to Max well over 300 times now and consider myself to be somewhat of a truck connoisseur, albeit a very reluctant one. Max too can pick out a Skid Steer Truck from a Rescue Rig, which I have no doubt will serve him well in later life.
So please, please, please hurry up and bring on the next chapter. Roald Dahl, J.R.R Tolkein, Enid Blyton, CS Lewis, J.K. Rowling I eagerly await your company.