So Molly has always loved books. Maybe it has something to do with seeing me curled up with a book whenever I have free time which is almost every day.
Who am I kidding?
I’m a mum, so let me rephrase that… which is hardly ever!
Well it was hardly ever for quite some time after Molly was born, but then in the middle of the night, when Molly was one, I had an epiphany. It was my personal ‘soap box’ moment where I told myself that I needed to go back to my roots, understand that I can’t keep giving and that I needed to utilise my brain, my skills and nurture my passions or I’ll lose myself somewhere down the line. So, I slowly started carving out time for myself. My brain was working at full speed and the only thing that would slow me down was immersing myself in a good read, getting lost in some glorious fantasy and carving out a magical world in my head for some respite.
Anyway, back to the present!
This means that even though I fall off the wagon sometimes I always make sure I have a book by my bedside table as a constant reminder that I need to carve out time! Charlie and I also used to read to Molly when she was little and we loved to see her reactions to the different stories, see which ones became her favourites and which characters she particularly enjoyed or connected with. As she got older she gravitated to her own style of books and we allowed her to choose ones that she connected with and found interesting.
Why am I telling you all this? Oh right, the title of this article! Now, you must be wondering who is Banu and why are we helping Banu to read?
Banu is wonderful! He is a bouncy, lively five year old who we met through a mutual friend.
How did it all start?
Banu’s mum watched Molly read to Banu one day while we were sitting on our living room floor with toys scattered all over the place sipping on cups of tea as mums do when they have those rare moments of ‘ahhhhh’ time.
She looked at me and whispered sadly, ‘Banu is struggling to read at school Polly, I don’t know what to do. His teachers are telling me to get him some extra support because he is just not concentrating.’
My heart went out to Banu’s mum because we all know how it feels when someone, especially in a school tells us our child isn’t at the standard they need/ want them to be. It breaks your heart a little and makes you feel helpless. You start questioning all your parenting choices and then spiral into none other than questioning your skills as a parent.
‘Every child learns at their own pace, Malani,’ I gently tell Banu’s mum. All I want to do is reach out and hug her as she smiles sweetly but the look of worry hasn’t left her face.
‘I guess I know that, but I worry that Banu will never learn to read properly. You know I hate to read myself. It’s just something that never clicked with me.’
‘I understand, Malani. It’s something that you need to connect with or it becomes a chore and then you just don’t feel drawn to it. It’s the same with anything really.’ As I speak I have a lightbulb moment!
‘May Molly and I try helping Banu? Maybe someone else giving it a go with him will help him become more interested in reading?’
Malani nods emphatically and it’s like I have taken a great load of her shoulders.
‘That would be…amazing!’ she says. ‘Are you sure? You have so much on…’
I stop her mid-sentence to say ‘If we’ve learnt anything in the past 2 years Malani, it’s that we need to make time for what’s important and this is definitely one of those things!’
It’s true. As you’ve read in my musings, I’ve learnt so much over the last two years. The most important being the need to prioritise what matters and what makes a difference. If I can use just that little bit of knowledge I have, to help someone else then I most certainly will!
‘Banu,’ I say, inching closer to Molly and Banu who are now at the end of the book Molly was reading to him. ‘Did you like the book?’
Banu tilts his head to one side and I can see that he’s thinking about it?
‘Yes,’ he says in the end.
‘What did you like about it Banu?’
‘Molly. I liked hearing Molly read it.’
‘Oooooh! Why Banu?’
‘She made interesting voices, I liked listening to her voices.’
I laughed. ‘Yes! Molly is very good at giving characters different voices,’ I say and ruffle Molly’s hair affectionately.
I gently pick up the book Molly has placed near them and point to a few things on the cover and engross them both in a mini-discussion. It’s fun and gives Banu a great creative and calm space to share his ideas. He has lots of them, including a different ending because he didn’t like the way the original story ended. Molly, Malani and I laugh so much at Banu’s ending where he even introduced a totally new character.
‘Will you do me a favour Banu?’ I ask.
‘Sure’ Banu says, his eyes alert and up for anything.
‘Could you read something for us and see if you can tell us a better ending when your mum brings you over next week?’
Banu grins and nods. I can see that he’s excited by that thought.
‘Molly, would you like to take Banu to your bookshelf and help him pick out a book he likes which he can borrow?’
Molly nods and runs off eagerly with Banu in tow!
I look over at Malani who has tears in her eyes. I can’t say much as mine mirror hers. One mum has tears of joy and the other tears of the impact such a small gesture can have.
What seems far too small and insignificant of a gesture to one, is a treasure to another. Maybe a reminder of how we can all do something small each day to help one another. That’s another lesson from the last two years.
Be there for each other.
Definitely food for thought…right morning musing time over. I’m off to start my day now, more later 😊