The Boss is baffled. Occasionally, as I run my finger along underneath a word, I encourage her to "just join the letter sounds together". She looks at me like I'm a mad woman. Although she knows her alphabet inside out, and has an astonishing grasp of basic Mandarin, the brain switch that turns on "reading" hasn't yet flipped. That's fine, she's only four. One day someone more imaginative than me will explain it in a way that makes sense to her. Anyway, there's more to learning than reading, writing and 'rithmetic. There's knitting.
She got her first needles a few weeks ago (after some unsatisfying sessions improvising with pencils), and we cast on 10 stitches in blue aran.
We only manage a row (at most two) at a time. I hold her hands and guide her through the stitch, but I don't know any knitting rhymes/memory aids to help her remember the movements; I'd love to hear if anybody knows one that's worked for them.
Today she wanted to try doing some stitches without help. I could just look at those Mr Men plastered hands all day. As an American friend of mine would say, they're just too stinkin' cute.
To join in with the lovely people at Small Things' Yarn Along, I need to post a photo of knitting and a book. So here's a picture of her precious scarf and something I'm about to start reading: Mimi and Toutou go forth: the bizarre battle for Lake Tanganyika, by Giles Foden. This book was lent to me by my Dad, who said it was one of the strangest true stories he's ever read. I'm intrigued.
The blurb reads: "At the start of WW1, German warships controlled Lake Tanganyika in Central Africa. The British had no naval craft at all upon Tanganjikasee, as the Germans called it. This mattered: it was the longest lake in the world and of great strategic advantage. In June 1915, a force of 28 men was dispatched from Britain on a vast journey... ...to haul 2 motorboats with the unlikely names of Mimi and Toutou through the wilds of the Congo. The 28 were a strange bunch - one was addicted to Worcester sauce, another was a former racing driver - but the strangest of all was their skirt-wearing, tattoo-covered commander, Geoffrey Spicer-Simson..."
I'm totally sold. And if the cover design is characteristic of the book, it reassures me that this should be a humourous and eccentric read (rather than a weighty war memoir... although I'm partial to those too).
Some friends have commented that my Dad probably only bought the book because my family nickname is Mimi. (Only about half a dozen people use my nickname, but those few never call me anything else.) Hopefully that tenuous link isn't needed to enjoy the book. On the other hand, nobody needs any justification to croon lustily along to Maurice Chevalier's classic Mimi, but I'm very glad I have an excuse.
My baby brother and I indulge in the Mimi croon as frequently as possible. Our French isn't up to much, but like I said, there's more to learning than reading, writing and 'rithmetic. There's crooning badly in faux French.