Heidi says the most amazing things sometimes, the imagery of the world in her head is so vivid. I can just see her spawning whole universes with her imagination, if only we can find a way for her to communicate it on a level we understand.
We are reading ”How to Train your Dragon” at bedtimes, a chapter a night, it is a huge breakthrough in our chapter book challenge, the first real chapter book Heidi has allowed me to read and continue reading to her each night, no tears, no drama, no bribes.
Each evening we settle down on my bed and I start reading, before long Heidi will be bouncing about, sometimes leaping off the bed, occasionally swooping around the room. Every so often she disappears, hiding on the floor, out of my line of sight… only leap up and pounce on my feet.
It can be distracting, it can be a little frustrating sometimes and occasionally hysterically funny.
At first I tried to get Heidi to sit still and listen to the story, but she couldn’t do it, now I just ask that she stay in the room because I can’t read loud enough to reach the other end of the corridor.
You see she is acting out the story as I read it, sometimes she is Toothless swooping around, pouncing on her prey, sometimes she is Hiccup racing from angry dragons or standing up to his Tribe.
Her imagination builds a story more real than words on a page.
Sometimes there is a scary bit, or a tense moment of emotional conflict. Then Heidi comes crawling into the bed beside me, seeking comfort and hugs, demanding that we just skip to the last page and read the happy ending. She is so invested in the story, it is hard to separate herself from the characters and remember this is all just a story.
And through this I think we build resilience, as I keep reading, working through word by word, page by page, chapter by chapter, night after night, till we make it to the final chapter, the happy ending. It helps Heidi to learn that life has ups and downs, but you just need to keep on going and sometimes get a big hug from Mummy.