The children and I have begun reading C.S. Lewis' "Narnia" series. I can hardly express how much I enjoy having children reaching ages at which we can read interesting literature I like. We have made it through the first two books and have just begun the third, "The Horse and His Boy."
Mary (4) is a bit young for the series, so she and Margaret (21 months) often play kitchen, with Mary halfway listening, while I lay on the bed in the closed girls' room (so Margaret can't wander down the hall, necessitating that I hoist myself up, which almost requires a crane these days). But John (6) is old enough and we have had the most delightful and meaningful conversations. As we sat down to start the series, we talked through again what the genre of fairy tale is: stories that are not meant to be true, often in timeless settings and in unspecified settings involving often one-dimensional characters--completely good or completely evil--and imaginary creatures that use magical powers but the story itself teaches natural truths to us. Meaningful conversations with my six-year-old followed. Then I explained what a literary symbol is and that, in this series, the lion Aslan = Jesus. Now, as we read along, I pause often and ask him if Aslan doing something or other reminds John of anything, and he leaps to an episode in the Bible, an action of Jesus, a parable. We have enjoyed the best conversations about truth, sin, redemption, repentance, forgiveness, and sacrifice while reading the "Narnia" books.
Chris expressed wistfulness that he could read the books to the children so he could enjoy them too. He's welcome to join us anytime, but we tend to read at random moments during the day, at Quiet Time, at bed time. I reminded him that he got to read the entire Laura Ingalls Wilder series to the children last year, so now it's my turn!
Don't tell Chris, but another aspect that makes it so luxurious for me to sit or lay down in the middle of the day to read excellent literature is that the children have become very interested in brushing my hair. I think it began when John start playing with my hair when I would read (which was rather annoying). Then one day he got the idea to go grab a brush. They have since had some maternal training, such as that they need to use a boar's bristle brush, they have to brush separate segments of my hair, and no brushing upwards. Now when I grab Narnia, they run and grab brushes, and they'll brush my hair for 20 minutes straight! It's almost like a little getaway to a salon, but I get to sit quietly and read a book instead of keeping up inane chatter with a hairdresser whom I don't know.