Another one of those little milestones is passing, and as is so often the case I am both pleased and sad at the same time.
We have always read books to the boys, right from before they could sit up by themselves. First Born had that habit that drives you wild as a parent of obsessing on one particular book at a time and demanding to have it read it over and over and over. 9 years later I reckon I could still recite a fair chunk of "The Lorax" by Dr Seuss from memory and I still want to kill whoever wrote that poem "The clockwork clowns go clickety-clack, you wind them up at the back back back" (Enid Blyton? It kind of sounds like her work.....)
As the boys grew, we instituted the habit of bedtime story which gradually evolved from reading little bits of Roald Dahl poems, or choosing parts of "A Child's Garden of Verses" to reading novels, one chunk per evening. We read all the Lemony Snicket books, all the Spiderwick Chronicles, some Dr Who novels, all the Just William books, all the Harry Potter books (though Husband declined to be involved in those - he hates Harry Potter. The freak.) We dabbled in the Jennings books, read a fair number of Nelly the Monster Sitter, most of Joan Lingard's books and sundry others.
Story time was a nice, quiet full stop to the day. The boys lay in bed (or rolled around, kicking the walls, falling out of bed and fiddling with whatever toys they found down the back of their pillows) listening, tried to plead for just one more page when I finished and then it was lights out. This comfortable routine has begun to change recently. They still like a story at bedtime but now they, off their own bats, have created "quiet reading time". They get ready for bed and then they each lie on their bed reading their own books. To themselves. Without me.
Don't get me wrong, I could not be more delighted that they choose voluntarily to read and want to read to themselves. I love books so much, and reading is such an integral part of me, that the idea of my children choosing to read for pleasure makes me go all warm and squidgy inside. It's just that I don't get to read the stories any more. And I really enjoyed that. I am kind of hoping that this is temporary and that there will still be a place for reading out loud. The book we were reading when quiet reading time showed up is, truth be told, not that great (picked by one of the gruesome twosome because it has a cool cover with a dragon on it, I suspect) and it may be that they just didn't fancy hearing more of that. Come to think of it, quiet reading time also coincided with the monumental visit to Borders Books after Christmas so there are plenty of books lying around that they are keen to read.
Maybe once they have read all the Goosebumps and Astrosaurs books, they will be more inclined to let me read something to them again. Or maybe I'll just have to staple them to their mattresses and give them no choice........