Are you sitting comfortably, then I'll begin ...
I adore my two beautiful children to pieces, but I often feel that I would like to cut myself in two so that they can both have a bit of me at the same time. When tired at the end of the day, they will bicker as to who will sit on my lap (they won't entertain sharing it) or on bath night they will both want me to dry them, rather than daddy. Nine times out of ten, Arthur wins my attention as he is the youngest at just one and Lily being four years older gets told 'we'll do that later' or such like.
I'm very aware that Lily needs my attention too and Arthur has to learn to share me. I've resigned myself to the fact that there is no perfect and precise way I can split myself in two. But I do try to do the next best thing; make a conscious effort to find opportunities for 'Mummy and Lily' time. Sometimes it's a trip to a cafe for chocolate cake or she'll come into Brighton shopping with me.
But one precious daily chunk of time we've made for our own is 'the bedtime story'.
I started reading Lily bedtime stories when she went from cot to a big bed, shortly before her third birthday. We started out on 'Topsy & Tim' stories, which she loved. No doubt I will be reading them to Arthur when he's a bit older. But since those early days we have progressed and we are now both enjoying some truly amazing books. Lily loves reading and being read to - always has, which helps.
A while ago I introduced her to some of my old childhood favourites by Enid Blyton. The first series we read was the trilogy that includes The Enchanted Wood, The Magic Faraway Tree and The Folk of the Faraway Tree. She loved them! I think they are a 'must read' for any child. The stories tell of the adventures that Joe, Beth and Frannie have in the Enchanted Wood that is at the end of their garden. In this wood they discover the Faraway Tree which is home to the likes of Moonface, Saucepan Man, Dame Washalot and Silky the fairy to name but a few. With these mystical tree folk, the children visit magical lands that come to the top of the tree and have exciting adventures in places such as the Land of Spells, the Land of Treats and the Land of Do-As-You-Please.
Reading bedtime stories is a sure given advantage of parenthood. I love introducing Lily to such treasures, plus it's an enchanting trip down memory lane for me who has never quite let go of the magic.