Bedside reading

I am about to turn six in this memory. Recently, my little brother has started joining my father’s bedside reading. Whenever my father is at home and announces that his bedside reading is happening tonight, both my brother and I shuffle to our bedding together. It is a new thing because earlier, my brother used to have his own reading time with my mother. But now, our parents have decided that he is old enough to listen to a more “grown-up” story that my father has been reading to me.

The book my father has been reading these days is Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome, a story of young children’s adventures on boats. These children are young, but unlike me, they go on a real adventure on real boats with real dangers. Whenever there is a description of the boat they are travelling in, I feel jealous of the characters and I wish that I could also go on an adventure in the river with my friends.

When my father started reading this book, the audience was just me. And I have mostly been a quiet listener, paying attention to all the details of the story and expressing my thoughts from time to time.

But now, with my brother present, the bedside reading has suddenly become noisy. Not because of him, but because I like to “discuss” the story with him while our father reads.

There is a character named Peggy in Swallows and Amazons. One night, I express that the name Peggy reminds me of a penguin.

“The name Peggy sounds like a penguin, doesn’t it?”

The moment I say that, my brother replies from the other side of our father.

“Peggy is a penguin!”

The way he has said it is so funny that I burst into laughter. My brother must have liked my reaction because he says it again, turning my direction.

“Peggy is a penguin!”

This is so much fun that now, whenever the name Peggy comes up, we both start chanting, “Peggy is a penguin!” until our father tells us to stop disrupting the story.