Eldest daughter (6) has had a bit of a downer on herself lately when it comes to reading. "I hate reading," she says. "I'm rubbish at it. And it's really BORING."
I can't help wondering how much this has to do with me writing children's books for a living (people say to her all the time, "Oh, you must love reading your mum's books!") and how much it's to do with the fact that son (4) has been reading since he was 3 years old and (sssshhh) is actually slightly a better reader than she is (not that I ever let slip that I think that, of course). He does this annoying thing of leaning over her shoulder while she's reading to me and correcting her when she slips up, which I think would piss anybody off, but the fact that he's younger must be a real stinger to her. Obviously I try to make time for her to read to me when he's not around but that's not always possible.
But this weekend she seems to have seen the light. I came back from London to find that she'd read three Rainbow Magic books on her own and since then is whipping through them at a rate of knots. In fact, she's feeling so much more confident, she was eyeing up our book collection last night. "I think these children's books are a bit babyish for me now," she said, dismissing the rest of her story books. She pulled out Return of the Native from the shelf above instead. "Do you think I'd like this one?"
"Well," I said, "I'm sure you will when you're older, but..."
She flipped it open to the introduction and started reading. "Thomas Hardy was born in... See? I can read it!"
"Well done," I said. "So you can."
I am so happy that she has decided she likes books. And I think she's happy too.