One of the things I love doing most with my kids is discovering a new story – whether that’s by reading a book with them or going to the cinema.
But those with toddlers will know what I mean when I say things have a tendency to get a tad familiar.
The first time your two-year-old discovers how magical Jungle Book is, their instinct is not to simply hum Bear Necessities for a couple of hours afterwards and perhaps ask for a pair of Baloo pyjamas.
They immediately want to watch it again. And again. And again.
When my first child – who’s now 10 – was a toddler, I was astounded by how he never tired of a particular book or movie; you’d have thought he had the recall skills of a goldfish with a head trauma.
Only it became apparent that he hadn’t forgotten the story of Winnie The Pooh’s Blustery Day of when he asked me to read it for the fourteenth time in five hours. He just never got sick of it.
If only the same could be said for me.
Eight years on, I could still recite every word.
Only I’ve now got other things to concern myself with: the fact that my three year old is as prone, if not more, to this than the other two children.
And so despite the fact that we have shelves that are straining under the weight of the sheer volume of books on them – including two copies of the Gruffalo and a couple of Ladybird books that must be contenders for the Antiques Roadshow – he’s not interested in anything but a single book.
It’s called Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs. And I hate it with a passion. Not, I should stress, because it isn’t a fantastic read, full of adventure, humour and brilliant illustrations; exactly the kind of thing ALL pre-school kids love in fact.
But because I have read it every night for three months now, complete with the same silly voices and actions.
Against all the odds, he never, ever tires of it. Despite my attempts to read something – anything! – else. My case of Captain Flinn fatigue is so bad I try to get story time over with as fast as possible, only he knows the plot so well now he protests when you miss out so much as a word.
I know this is entirely normal – psychologists say repetition helps children learn new words, and provides them with comfort.
Which is nice. Though if I don’t find something new soon, somebody might have to provide me with some Valium.