For as long as I can remember, I have always loved books. I think it stems from being around Mum so much as a child – she always seemed to have a book on the go wherever she was. There would be a different one on the arm of her favourite armchair, one on the corner of the bath and one in her bedroom. I don’t know how she did it, but then she was pretty amazing.
Her love of storytelling naturally passed down to me and when I became a parent aged 24, it was really important that I tried to instil a love of stories into both of my children. Having never raised boys before, I wasn’t sure they would share my love of reading, but both of them did for a very long time. I would read Room on the Broom and Snail and the Whale over and over again to Dexter – I think he just liked the repetitive sound of my sing-song voice late at night because it would always make him sleepy. That, or I was just very boring!
One of my favourite photos of Dexter and I, taken two years ago
Some of my favourite books as a child became their favourite books. Chicken Licken, There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly, Puss in Boots. “Again Mum,” he would say and, of course, I would always oblige.
Their tastes changed as they got older and their love of books switched to a love of TV and there was just no point fighting it. I always maintained, and still do, that they would/will return to reading once they have seen the error of their ways!
When we found Disney Pixar’s Toy Story, Monsters Inc and Up, I realised these were films that I could watch with Dexter time and time again. We loved watching these types of films together because as great as the stories were, watching them wasn’t just about the storytelling, it was about connecting with each other and spending precious time together when life was just so hectic for me as a single parent. Yes, there were times I’d use the TV as a babysitter when I had work to do, but I never felt bad about it – you can’t go wrong with Disney films!
Now Dexter is 11, we have moved on to yet another phase of his life – the dreaded Xbox. He has become much more solitary and as much as we still do spend time together every day, I miss him. I miss that connection and I’m not quite sure what to do about it. One thing I have done is ensure that we try and go away for the occasional weekend together, exploring new places and making new stories and memories together, and I hope that one day he’ll remember them and tell his children all the things we got up to.
There is a reason I’m telling you all of this, and it’s especially poignant as it’s World Book Day today. Disney have recently launched a new video subscription service called DisneyLife, and I think it could be a way to find that common ground with Dexter again. Not only does it include the TV box sets that he loved as recently as a year ago (but maybe I didn’t share the love for them), but it has all of the films I mentioned earlier on there and to top it all off, within DisneyLife, there is a new ‘Time to Read’ section on the website, that has all of your favourite childhood books on there, providing literary tales of Disney classics, both new and old, for children of all ages and reading abilities, from stages 1-5.
So while we are away together this weekend, and he is away from the Xbox, we are going to have a good look through the new DisneyLife website to see what we can find. I haven’t navigated through the whole website yet but there seems to be something to suit everyone so as much as we’re not really into princesses, I don’t think you’re ever too old for Bedknobs & Broomsticks!
For more information, go to: www.DisneyLife.com
* This post is in collaboration with DisneyLife and I was given a six-month subscription to DisneyLife.