Bed times. Three wise little men. Each wants his own story. That is three whole stories, every night. Books are good. Reading is a lovely way to spend time with them. But it’s bedtime. We are all tired and emotional. Needless to say, it often ends rather badly, especially for the books, strewn across four corners of a bedroom floor.
And then, hurrah, I had a brainwave: poetry. Short little poems. Bravo.
I bought ‘101 Poems for Children’ by Carol Ann Duffy. A gorgeous selection.
The first poem we found and read together was ‘A Crow and Scarecrow’, by Carol Ann Duffy. The Eldest listened with wide eyes. Something clicked in his wonderful little head. The questions came thick and fast: “Is the scarecrow dead mummy?”; “How was the scarecrow ever alive?”; “Will the farmer be sad?”. What a success. What a moment to share together. What vibrant children I have. What a wonderful mother I am, opening their eyes and ears to such beautiful words.
This was a week ago. Three nights ago the eldest declared
I love poems mummy. They make me think
My child. A thinker. Rejoice. The questions keep coming. His eyes get wider. But hang on, my patience is waning, This was meant to make bedtimes easier for me. Not a time for debate, self doubt (on my behalf – I haven’t a clue what half of these poems mean), and sparks to fly in the kids’ imagination – I want them to sleep. Now.
I persevere, and last night we chose ‘You are old, Father William’ by Lewis Caroll. And immediatly, I am back in love with poems. The last verse in particular struck a chord with me, resonated, summed up succinctly what it has taken me a whole blog post to convey:
‘I have answered three questions, and that is enough’
Said his father; don’t give yourself airs!
Do you think I can listen all day to this stuff?
Be off, or I’ll kick you downstairs!’*
Lewis Caroll, you nonsense talking Jabber-wockerer. You speak my language.
*The writer of this post does not condone the kicking of small children downstairs…..but seriously…GO TO BED