Sally reads to Max


I saw this photograph, of Sally reading to Max today. And although I am not there I can imagine the reading very well.

Max will be delighted to do anything with Sally. Sally will be delighted to do anything with Max.

Max will hold on to the book with all his small strength. Sally will be unable to turn the pages, she will encourage him to let go, she is unfailingly kind. Max will work hard to let go. He will shake both sides of the book at once. He will turn the pages too fast or turn the same page over and back and over and back, trapping Sally’s hand inside the book. Sally will laugh, she is unfailingly gentle.

Max will scratch delicately with one fingertip the pictures on the pages. He might be able to get one off the page and eat it.  Sally will be amazed, she is unfailingly encouraging. Max will close the book on his own nose. Sally will help him over and over to open it again. She is unfailingly patient. Max will chirp and bubble and this is how he reads. Sally will consider his efforts and be proud. She will say: Max is reading.  And thanks to Sally, he is.





When Max kept on sleeping.


It is my turn to look after Max and he is sound asleep. He is stretched out, serene, reaching to the heavens, the emperor of his own cot. He is breathing strongly and won’t wake up even though I dropped three books at once. I hope he wakes up before his young mother arrives home so that I can claim weariness and be hard done by and so on. But he won’t wake up and I am disappointed. We might have looked through the windows at the night moths or heard the galahs still arguing even this late in the warm night. We might have read Goosey Lucy again.

Later I drop another book but he breathes on, smiling and strong and guessing at the absurdities of grandparents.