When my sister and I were little, our mum used to always come to say goodnight to us at bedtime. Some nights she would read us stories from books. She would always sit on my sister’s bed because I had the privilege of the top bunk. I remember we used to have a big hardback book of all the collected Narnia stories, that she used to read us a bit from each night for a while. And then there were the picture books  – Kipper the Bear, Each Peach Pear Plum, Where’s my teddy, “Hoho for the robbers, the cops and the robbers hoho”. One of my personal favourites was “Where’s my hairy toe” which was a very strange story now that I think about it, but I liked to scare my sister with the big double page spread illustration of the big hairy monster yelling “You’ve got it!”, pointing out of the page at the reader. She used to hide under her blanket from it. I was a good big sister.

Then some nights mum would tell us stories that she made up as she went along. They were always about two little girls with the same names as us, and they would always have magical adventures with a big purple dragon named Herman. It’s a shame that I don’t remember more specifics about the stories, but I do remember there being a part where we found the dragon egg by tripping over it in a forest. And we also had magical jewellery that gave us magic powers, though I forget what kind of powers. They would be different ones each story I think – invisibility or being able to fly, things like that.

Another game we used to play (it was just a way to get us to be quiet and go to sleep really I’m sure!) was where mum used to trace a face over our own with her finger, and we’d guess who or what it was meant to be. Sometimes it would be a clown, sometimes animals, or even one of our own teddies specifically sometimes. It would go something like this:

Mum:   “a pink little nose” *traces a little triangle on the end of my nose*

“Biiiig whiskers” * traces three lines on each cheek*

“pointy ears” *traces two triangles at the top of my head into the hairline*

“and two green eyes” *gently traces two circles over each eyelid*

Me: “I’m a cat!”

Mum: “Yes!”

And then I’d ask for another, and she would even though she had to awkwardly lean over the wooden edge of my bunk-bed while standing on my sister’s bed to reach me. Her hands were always dry and her fingers would be scratchy on my face. I feel like I can still remember exactly what it felt like now. That was so long ago.


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