As a child I was a voracious reader. With no brothers or sisters to play with I devoured books instead, immersing myself in other worlds – usually Enid Blyton boarding schools or Cornish smuggling adventures – anything where I could let my imagination run wild.
I know it's a hiding to nothing to have expectations that your own children might secretly enjoy the same pursuits you did when you were younger but – hands up – I desperately wanted one of my offspring to be a book worm and discover the joys of hours spent, head in a book.
Daughter number one was, I could swear, born 16. Ahead of her time, one eye has always been on what's cool, what's in, what's not. A very in-the-moment child. In vain, I've tried to capture her imagination with Swallows and Amazons and Little Women but I'm starting to wonder if she has any imagination at all.
It's not just the distractions of T.V, computer and the DS. Although, admittedly, these things don't help. She's just never been very interested in reading about other lives. I know – tragic, isn't it? I can almost see her rolling her eyes.
Daughter number two has just been diagnosed dyslexic. We first suspected something was up when she was six and left a little cross note on my pillow after a telling off earlier in the day. It read: 'You are a ibiyot.'
She's still reversing her bs and ds three years later. Getting into a book is a real struggle for her as each word is a stumbling block, making an entire sentence an exhausting challenge.
And then there's Monty. I have to partly take responsibility here, because by the time he got round to learning to read I was so unbelievably fed up with listening to stories about the ridiculously named Biff and Chip – there are limits, even for me – that it was an immense relief to skip reading for the evening and do a jigsaw instead. Consequently he, too, has yet to open a book of his own will.
It feels, somehow, at odds for me to have three children all, so far, totally disinterested in literature and the written word. There is, however, a small light on the horizon. Dolly is showing a promising interest in cardboard books recently. She chews them, chucks them and occasionally puts them under her bottom, grinning. Well, I can always live in hope..
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