Sunday, 25 September 2011

Cameron Loves Books

It's true, Cameron really does love books. He loves books to death and it breaks my heart.

From before birth Cameron has had books. We love reading in our house and I presumed our love would be handed down to our children. I sold children's books when Cameron was born so my already large collection of children's books was made even larger with my sample kit. I had cloth books, bath books, board books - big and small, beautiful picture books and children's novels.

We started reading to Cameron when he was a baby and he loved reaching out to the pictures and trying to grasp the pages. He decided that reading the newspaper was also lots of fun.

While still in hospital after developing Pneumococcal Meningitis people brought us books for Cameron and we read them to him in an effort to awaken his brain and engage with him.

Eventually over time his love of books and all things print returned and I was so pleased. I would sit and read to him and enjoy that cuddly joy of sharing a book. However on reflection Cameron did show me very early on, before he got sick, what he would probably do to books once I left him loose with them on his own.

Yep, he started to rip them and destroy them. This started in earnest about the age of three to four. His desire to destroy all things paper was not helped by his teachers insistence on teaching him how to rip paper. It took years to get people to understand that Cameron didn't need to practise this skill in fact he should never be allowed to remember this skill. But over and over again we would have to tell therapists and school staff that Cameron's fine motor skills, when it came to ripping, were very well developed.

I threw away books and more books and more books. I would try taping and repairing but to no avail. He would just rip them apart again. Anything made out of paper was in danger so you never left the newspaper, forms, catalogues, magazines, birthday cards, wrapping paper, novels or even board books. Cameron didn't discriminate - he loved them all to death.

It broke my heart to throw books away so I removed all books and Cameron wasn't allowed near a book unsupervised. Our children's books sat on the book shelves in pristine condition untouched mostly. But that broke my heart too. Every now and then I'd think - he's out grown that stage, he'll be okay now and I'd put books on the shelves for him to reach. Within days as I binned more beautiful books I regretted my decision and removed the books that had survived, in whatever state they were in.

Lots of people gave Cameron books that had electronic buttons for sounds and music and he loved them - too much. I put only bath books and cloth books on the shelf. He out grew them if he didn't destroy them. I put out only board books and still he pulled them apart and ripped them.

All books went away again, until recently I looked at the board books and decided that there was no point having them sitting on the book shelf. But this time I told myself they will be ripped and destroyed and they will end up in the bin. Let them go. Very hard for someone who loves books so much I'd be in heaven working in a children's book shop. I only gave him board books and already his shelf has gone from full to less than half full.

I've decided books are for enjoying and Cameron really is enjoying his books, just not in the way I had always presumed he would. He does sit and look at them, he particularly loves pictures of cars, he loves to lift a flap and discover the hidden picture and he still loves electronic books that make exciting noises. So for now he can enjoy what is left of our board book collection. After that .......... I don't think I can bring myself to part with our picture books. I'll just have to replenish our board book collection and keep putting books onto his ipad, he can't rip those one's up.


  1. This is beautiful Jane.

  2. Oh, what a post! It wasn't what I was expecting from the title but it gave me goosebumps. I love books too but I think it is amazing that you have adopted this outlook for the sake of your son. Wow.

  3. Hi InkPaperPen, Over the years I have had to challenge my beliefs alot. I never thought I could let books go but at least they have made Cameron happy and that is what books are supposed to do. He just gets different things from books compared to the rest of us.