Feeling our way


Nearly four months has passed since I became a ‘mum’ to someone! There is so much packed into this tiny word – so much weight in the six kilos that I now carry around daily. It has been amazing to see this tiny person – so like all the other babies at first – become so different, so mine.

There’s the tiny expressions and noises that mean nothing to anyone but me, and the excitement that comes with each First. All mum’s will know what I mean.

We’ve been reading since day one (much more religiously I should add than remembering to take our daily dose of Vitamin D – oops!), and while we’re still reading everything from chapter books (storytime), rhymes (and silly songs made out of desperation) to picture story board books, our favourites of all at the moment are by far the touch and feel, and the interactive cloth books. Why? Because two months ago when I started reading Tails (pictured above) to my little boy I would lift his hands and put his fingers on the fluffy or the scratchy bits to show him how they felt. A month later he amazed me by reaching out to touch a scratchy tigers nose. Four short/long weeks after that and he’s trying to turn pages, reaching out for his favourite bits (still the scratchy tigers nose in this, but also some shiny peacock feathers, some crinkly curtains in a That’s Not My Kitten cloth book, and some colourful tags on a flag in a Spot cloth book). It’s extraordinary.

Matthew Van Fleet (author of Tails, Five Fuzzy Ducklings, Sniff, Lick, Dogs and Cats) is by far my favourite of the touch and feel authors out there. For tiny fingers they’re all good provided the touchy bits are different and obvious (colourful, fluffy, big enough patches and so on), but as the reader, it’s nice to have at least something of a story to be able to read along to. Plus as they get older these ones are great for introducing shapes, numbers and names of animals. AND there are some tabs/pully sections, which are made extra thick – so I’m hoping that they’ll make it through the avalanche of dribble that is sure to come their way.

Regardless of which books you pick though, I can’t recommend these interactive pages for those tiny hands and brains. As a parent, it’s so special to really be able to see those minute changes as fingers reach out to scratch favourite pages and as a child it’s a way of engaging with the idea of books nice and early – getting into the habit of turning those pages, of loving them, of wanting to look at them, of knowing that there’s something magical in them. Start early enough and it’s a feeling that will never go away.