Saturday, 28 January 2012

Instead of stories ...

Sometimes, of an evening, Frank and I discuss what stories he might like to hear.
I love reading and being read to. Thus talking books are great for me, especially as I can cook and potter whilst following a story.
I have very fond memories of being in my mid-twenties and sharing a house with two other young female teachers, one of whom is still one of my best friends, Alex.
Alex is from Ballymoney in Northern Ireland and after a few years teaching here in Essex, followed her heart home and works now in Belfast.
On special occasions Alex would read out loud to me as we both lay on sofas in the lounge of the house we shared. He gorgeous northern Irish accent made every story extra special to me.
Well, Frank loves stories too, but is in that in-betweeeny phase at the moment of not really enjoying longer stories and wanting the same very young children's stories over and over.
I have no problem with this unless it has been a long day and I am in need of something a little more peppy!
This was the case the other evening and so I suggested we took paper, books and pencils and his bedtime snack upstairs with us and planned our Chinese New Year celebrations on the big double bed INSTEAD of stories.

We had a couple of books for ideas of dragons to draw and Frank erected a pillow barrier to prevent me from seeing the dragon he was drawing.

Here you can see his snack (apples slices and an oat biscuit) and in the background his little monster design book. This is just a small Moleskine book that he has by the side of his bed and in which he draws any good ideas for monsters when he's allowed ten minutes reading or designing alone before lights go out.
Monsters don't frighten him and he loves to design weird and wonderful ones.

We came up with this version of a dragon for our Chinese New Year celebration and Frank had a ball using his new chalk pastels to colour it in as they were so bright.
My point with this post is that we spent a long time drawing and reading and talking about our ideas and I think both of us felt energised by this new activity.
I firmly believe in routine and the support it provides for all of us but on the occasion that I have stepped outside the routine and done something creative I have felt amazed by the energy I have tapped into.
Rather than feeling more tired by our slightly later night we felt great and had shared some creative time and most definitely strengthened our connection to each other as two people that like to create, albeit he monsters and gross creatures and me slightly less gross things!
Instead of stories, create ...
Any other ideas for great bedtimes?


  1. I love Frank's hair cut!
    Bed times are all about the chat in my house - all three children like a good chat about what we each did that day, even when we spent the entire day together and just did cleaning!

  2. I think sometimes it's more about the time than the activity.
    Love the dragon...beautiful colors!

  3. we tell a lot of stories around our house, I get really tired eyes at night so after a few books read aloud I need to rest my eyes - sometimes we take turns adding onto the story other times we just have one person tell the whole story. We also use the flashlight on the ceiling to tell "casper" stories where the light is casper and we talk as if he was there all day enjoying moments together with our family, kind of a review of the good, bad and wonderful :) We use to do puzzles or water paints a lot at night instead of books, too - but now the boys get each other too wound up to do that.
    And I too think the dragon is beautiuful.

  4. What a lovely moment to capture, Jules. I love that feeling when you shake things up and it works out in a ripple effect in such a positive way!

  5. I love all of this sweet Jules. Frank is a lucky boy.

  6. oh how lovely! those drawings are spectacular!!

    since my kid is age 12 now our bedtime routine is more abbreviated. but tonight she asked for a backrub and i played music on my phone with strong piano parts she could bring to her new teacher this week.