Very occasionally I write about work but rest assured, you can be sure it'll involve a book eventually.
I now find myself rather worryingly in my 30th year as a trained Health Visitor having entered the profession precociously early at the age of 8 you understand.
It's even longer since we were The Ladies Sanitary Inspectors and in fact I've had cause to fail in recognizing a picture of a head louse this week because it's so long since I've met one.
30 years is a long time to be doing developmental checks on children and this week was no different with battalions of two year olds. I love two year olds especially other people's.
It will come as no surprise either to know that I use books extensively.
I hand out the free Bookstart packs which the children love and which are about encouraging parents and children to share books, join the library and generally be at ease with books pre-school.They have also proved very succesful in getting stroppy toddlers out of the office without a tantrum about leaving the toys behind, little faces light up with glee as they proudly carry out their book bags.
Incidentally, great to see that Wendy Cooling has just won The Eleanor Farjeon award for establishing Bookstart, amongst her other excellent contributions to the world of children's literature.
I also keep a ready heap of children's books on my desk. Apart from the fact that they cheer me up on a dismal day, these are good to flick through when an inquisitive child finally sidles up and starts to interact with me on their own terms, I am a stranger to them after all.
Books give us something to talk to and I quickly get a good idea about language and comprehension from a child who would invariably have stayed mute had I actually asked them to talk to me.
Also, is this a child who is familiar with books? They will need to be when they go into school and many families need a lot of gentle, tactful and careful help accessing books per se. For some people this is not confident territory at all but you can be sure that most children will have watched TV.
Every so often I have to up my game and replenish my stock with more up to the minute childen's fare. I don't get to watch children's TV much but I do follow the crazes and Offspringette (until now)has always kept me in touch with the latest series she is editing or tech reviewing or dubbing into Gaelic.Dotted around my room is old evidence of Teletubbies, Bob The Builder, Balamory,The Tweenies et al but it's an ever-changing world and now I have new friends, Charlie and Lola really very absolutely do rule.
Most of the fads I go along with out of the necessity of finding common and familiar ground but I can't say I actually adored Bob the Builder .But I do love Charlie and Lola, there is something adorable and endearing about patient Charlie and fiesty Lola who knows her own mind and has no problem saying so. How can you not love a little person who lives in the realms of the superlative and declares "I will never not ever eat a tomato" or who insists "I absolutely must do colouring-in now" and with an imaginary friend called Soren Lorenson?