I convinced my children to come to the library this week – they love reading/being read to but they also love running around shouting so we don’t go as often as I’d like. They have the ability to reign it in slightly and briefly on arrival in the local library’s Junior section so off we went. Once again I had the misguided notion that I might pick up a couple of books for myself. These usually come from the closest shelf to the Librarian’s desk, grabbed by me in between the librarian stamping the myriad of kids selections, me reaching for my random reading material while stuffing umpteen books about underpants* in my bag while corralling the toddler with my left leg. The Dublin City Library catalogue is vast, but yes, I have to pick from the twelve books within my reach on any given visit.**
I’ve been reading a lot on the Kindle app lately, with the iPad switched to airplane mode. Why not aeroplane mode? What happened the aeroplane spelling? See! See how easily distracted I am? It’s too easy to switch the wifi back on and just google that thing the author referred to and then maybe I’ll just see how many likes that yoke I put on Instagram got. Oh look it’s 1230am and I’m glued to a glowy screen. Again. Back to paper it is.
So. The library. They have GIANT books there – books the size of coffee tables, but not actual coffee table books – that Ted loves, so I read a couple of them. The boys did a quick bit of colouring in and then I read a couple more. One was about Winnie The Witch and her party preparations. I really enjoyed it, mostly because the pictures of Winnie’s gaff would put Downton Abbey to shame, and spoiler alert, there was about 10 tiers to her birthday cake.
Anyway, by now Ted the Terrible was disturbing studious ten year olds, so I grabbed a bunch of books including a different Winnie book and off we went.
Well. The Winnie book was pulled out of the pile tonight, the one I had selected because of its’ distinctive illustrations. Cití agus a Slaitín Draíochta it was called. Oh. Right, I’ll give that a go so. Coincidentally it’s the tail end of the seventeen day long Seachtain na Gaeilge. Yes: we have a seventeen day festival called Irish Week. As their tagline goes Bain Triail Aisti. Who am I to argue? Off we go…
Excellent Parent: [bestowing a love of reading and our native language] Léim Cití Cailleach as an leaba…
Stuck In His Ways Child: What Mammy?
I repeat it.
SIHWC: No, in our language.
EP: That is our language, technically.
SIHWC: The one we talk in, the NORMAL one.
Oh. I’m not going to debate the place of Irish in our society. Not at bedtime at least. I explain I’m going to read the line in Irish, then in English. I need to do this to buy mental translation time.
EP: Cití jumped out of bed.
SIHWC: Her name’s Winnie! Call her Winnie!
His grá den teanga isn’t highly developed enough just yet I guess.
I continue to read, in a halting manner. I listen to his five year old’s halting reading all the time, so y’know: payback. I stop once to look up a word, and after that, surprisingly, I get through it all. There was several words I didn’t recognise but the context made them clear. I’m getting two Irish books next time. They can’t stop me, I’ll reserve them online first.
I highly recommend either Winnie or Cití and the illustrations are just as great in any language.
* Two of this week’s books have Underpants as a main theme, a further one makes good use of them as a comic prop. Kids are knicker-obsessed.
** I do reserve books online as often as I remember, then I get a phone call to tell me when it’s there for me to pick up in a civilised manner. It’s not the same as a good browse though.