“Tell me a story when you were little,” demands Leah, looking expectantly at L or me.
This has become one of her stock forms of entertainment when she has some time to kill. She is often sitting on the loo when she asks and this generally works well since she has a captive audience (or in this case storyteller).
So either L or I sit down on the bathroom step and tell her some story from our childhoods.
- The time I rode my bike around the pool when it was still being built and I fell in (just enough water to break my fall and not enough to drown me).
- The time L was climbing up the ladder separating their garden from that of her best friend and found a large German shepherd coming up the other side. She got a big fright, ran inside and locked the door – leaving her mother and scared younger sister locked outside with the big dog. (Her mom was not pleased that she refused to open the door!)
- The time that I saw a “foxy eating Pronutro”. My parents were on an outing to a game park with the four of us children and my older brother and sisters could all identify interesting wildlife while I could identify nothing. So I invented the “foxy eating Pronutro”.
- The time that I broke a cup and saucer and expected my mother to be really angry and she surprised me with “Oh well, accidents happen. At least you were honest about it.”
- The time my sister and I went on a holiday with my Granny to the seaside by train. We stayed right next to the beach, played bat and ball, swam, went for walks etc. I also lost one of the tennisette racquets and my gran bought the exact replicas so that my mom needn’t find out.
- The time that L and her sister went to stay with Nanna and Pops and the twins were born. L and her sister both got a beautiful baby brother to “look after”.
- Lying in bed listening to my father read me bedtime stories (with my brother listening through the door from the next room). My father read probably the whole of Roald Dahl and most of Arthur Ransome.
Perhaps inevitably I remember stories from my childhood which wouldn’t make for such good storytelling. The time that I was accidentally burned with scalding water in the bath when I was 7 or 8 years old. Sitting on the stairs listening to parents arguing. The time I wanted to kill my brother with a putt-putt stick (I had enough of his teasing).
Leah is a delightfully curious little girl and I can see she appreciates these tales from childhood. If I don’t tell them right she will often suggest some detail that she wants to hear more about. The polite but demanding “When you were little … what?” is mostly too good to resist.
She is also quite impossibly talkative at times (I still wonder if it’s normal for someone to talk non-stop for hours on end).
But I can see that I will need to work on my repertoire of stories from when I was little. Perhaps I can start to invent some interesting stories courtesy of my favourite childhood authors. :-)