Storytelling from the road.

by Tickled Red on August 4, 2010 · 19 comments

*This post is simply a tip on how my monkeys and I stay connected-keep up our nightly routine, whenever I am traveling without them*

As you guys may or may not know I adore books. I usually have two or three that I enjoy at a time, it keeps me sane. To my great delight my monkeys are avid readers as well. Even though my guys are growing up, especially Monkey One, I still enjoy reading an exciting tale to them in the evening. It is our time together sharing an adventure. I have always been of the opinion that people enjoy being read to no matter how old they are.

How many times have you watched a movie where the man is reading to the woman and you sigh, “Wouldn’t that be lovely if someone would read to me”. We crave that experience of  absorbing the story through someones voice, varied inflections of tone and facial expressions. Storytelling…it is age old for a reason. Just my opinion but even though your child may be 12,13, 14… don’t stop reading to them until they are actually begging you to.

Ya’ll are probably wondering why I am going on and on about reading aloud this evening. I have a point I promise. I am taking a trip soon, a really short  one but I will still be away from my monkeys. They have become accustomed to me and as ya’ll know, my darlin’ surfer being away from home from time to time. It has been a while though since I have been the one away from the nest.  When I do go on trips without them, two of the most important items that I pack along for the trip are books. One for my reading pleasure and one for the monkeys.


Four years ago I used to travel approx. 4- 6 weeks during the year. The monkeys were eight and four years old at the time. I began to notice when I came home from my second or third long trip, subtle clues as to how my being away from home was disrupting their routine. Nothing to big, a minor drop in M1’s weekly spelling test grade, M2’s concentration during preschool but enough for me to pay attention and be concerned. You see we try really hard to keep their lives running as smooth as possible when it comes to their education and I didn’t want my work schedule to become a burden for them.

I believe that children crave consistency and even though my darlin’ was doing a bang up job while I was traveling, it’s just not the same when a parent is away and routines are disrupted. One evening before their bedtime I sat there going over all of the possibilities, what could I do to help my boys? Were my hands as tied as they felt?

When it came time for them to go to bed we followed the usual routine of course. A five minute heads up so there wouldn’t be any melt downs, pj’s on, teeth brushed and mom waiting patiently to read a chapter from which ever book we happened to be enjoying at the moment. That is when I had my light bulb moment. Reading a bedtime story!! It was the one aspect of their daily routine that solely and completely belonged to me… US. My surfer doesn’t read the stories in the evening, never has.

So I started a new tradition/routine so to speak. Whenever I happen to be on the road traveling I read them a chapter over the phone each night. We couldn’t have asked for a better way to stay connected and engaged while sticking to our traditional routine as much as possible. The monkeys were also amused with hearing the story and my silly sound effects through the phone.

Now I won’t lie, it did get tricky at times. There was the time that my flight was late and our assistant had to hold her phone over my book for light in the shuttle, while I read not only to my boys but a crowded van of stupefied passengers. Restaurants, trade shows, airports…you name the place and I have probably read to them from there.

You will need books with short chapters. They will come in handy not only for those youthful attention spans but they will also last the duration of your trip. As well as being short enough to keep those dinner meeting guests from possibly tapping their toes impatiently down in the lobby.

Here are a couple of our favorite books that we have enjoyed via cell phone in the past.

Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson (Disney) is a wonderful series that has taken a delightful twist on an classic and all time favorite of ours. We think that Peter Pan rules! The authors take a realistic view of Peter and the lost boys, how they meet Wendy, find themselves on Never Land. They have also added a plethora of suspense filled mystery. All the while maintaining the magic and allure of the original tale. This is not a book written to appeal only to boys. Wendy holds her own, well the truth be told she pretty much runs the show. The chapters are just the right size.

Whittington by Alan Armstrong (Yearling)

Is the tale of a rough around the edges cat who finds a home in Bernie’s barn full of opinionated animals and befriends Bernie’s grandson Ben. Ben is having difficulty with reading in school so Whittington regales him with tales of Dick Whittington and a cat who helped him make his fortune in the world. The storytelling allows Ben to find a safe haven along with the freedom to express his intimidated, suppressed creative side. The chapters are just the right length.

Please don’t feel like you need to run out and buy two books, one for them and one for yourself in order to do this. Check one out from the library, purchase just one at the airport, even make it a surprise. If your child is older and in middle school like Monkey One break out Kipling, Tolkien or Poe and begin an adventure into a vast new world that you can continue when you return home from your trip.

So the next time you find yourself traveling away from your babies and want something to help keep you connected or simply for kicks and giggles try a book.

Be adventuresome!

Tickled Red

* Keep in consideration that this is what has worked for me and my monkeys. If reading is not your thing keep pulling rabbits out of the hat until you find that perfect fit for you and your children*


begin with a Sunny Outlook August 5, 2010 at 8:39 am

You’re a good mom to have been so aware of your kids needs. Reminds me of a proverb I once read ~ ‘A mother understands what a child does not say’

You came up with a fabulous idea!

tickledred August 14, 2010 at 7:11 am

Thanks so much! They are my everything :)

sleepycathollow August 5, 2010 at 9:20 am

What a great post! :) Glad they still like being read to.

I love Dave Barry, period. I found that book at a yard sale and still haven’t read it.

I also LOVE that book you have up in the top picture! Hee…bet you haven’t read that one to them! :)

tickledred August 14, 2010 at 7:13 am

Thanks love. We are some mad book hounds here. I agree Dave Barry is super talented you will enjoy that book. Ummm No…I haven’t read that one to DS :) I’ve mentioned tidbits though.

Sue August 5, 2010 at 10:19 pm

What a great tradition! After they grow up they will always remember it with fondness! Reading is one of the great pleasures of life and I’m grateful all my kids(and hubby) enjoy it too!

When my husband was working out of town, and the kids had a difficult math problem that stumped me, we would fax it to him so that he could see the problem and help them! Hooray for modern technology!

tickledred August 14, 2010 at 7:15 am

Thank you darlin’. I can’t live without books. I love your faxing idea!! I always have issues with math and we get into Algebra II I know who I am faxing :)

WebSavvyMom August 6, 2010 at 9:28 am

–>I agree! I think kids love the routine of things and what a great way to keep things consistent even when you’re not home.
I’m The Reader in my house and took my son to the library for the first time this week. He didn’t know where to start with seeing all of the books.

tickledred August 14, 2010 at 7:17 am

Oh I can just see his face. I remember taking the monkeys to the library for the first time…precious. You two have so many good reads ahead of you :)

M.J. Jacobsen August 7, 2010 at 5:17 pm

I love to read, and all of our kids do too. I read to our grandkids every chance I get…..great way to find out their thoughts!

tickledred August 14, 2010 at 7:19 am

I agree :) They come up with the cutest off the wall “What If’s” and then their little imaginations just start steam rolling :) Your grand babies probably adore you!

SMITH BITES August 8, 2010 at 5:57 pm

Oh goodness – tears!! Never took the time to read to my boys as they were growing up but wish I had. I have so much respect and admiration for you – both as a person and as a mom! Am just thrilled to have met you this weekend!!!

tickledred August 14, 2010 at 7:21 am

That’s okay I am sure you have done things with your boys that I haven’t and will look back at with a sigh…we can’t do it all but they love us anyway. Thanks so much love, I am equally as thrilled. I wish that we lived closer!

Amber August 9, 2010 at 6:52 am

Oh Red, you are a lovely lovely person. I knew that already from meeting you this weekend. But now I know that you’re also one stellar parent. As an avid reader myself, I applaud you for instilling this in your monkeys. So many people in our country make comments with more tongue in cheek than chagrin about not being able to read or do math, and it’s one of the really big problems in our country! I love love loved this entry.

Have you ever read Douglas Adams? (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) Your boys are getting to the right age to enjoy the silliness and a lot of the over the top jokes. It was a radio series first, but the books are fabulous.

tickledred August 14, 2010 at 7:25 am

Thanks so much Amber, you are just as lovely!! :) Ya’ll were so wonderful, genuine and amazing that I was a wee bit overwhelmed. I agree, we push for kids to read & read at a certain level by a certain age but not for the love or experience. I feel that this does them a disservice because by the time they reach high school they will only read what they have to. What a loss.

I can’t believe that I forgot about that book. Thanks for the reminder!

Nancy - TheSensitivePantry August 11, 2010 at 7:24 pm

Bravo! You and the Monkeys will remember these evenings of reading for a long time. I read every night with my son when he was just a little guy. I will always cherish that time spent with him.

Gee, I knew there was something I liked about you! You love food, reading, your family and the beach! We’ll have to make time to chat more next time we meet! PS-I’m reading Drums of Autumn right now so your photo caught my eye. And, I’ve got a book on CD in my car at all times!

tickledred August 14, 2010 at 7:27 am

Heeheehee…we do need to talk more. Lots, lots in common. I am having so much fun getting to know you. Oh I’ve tried to do the books on CD but I can’t get past the same person doing both of the male and female roles. The first time I heard that I almost wrecked the car from laughter.

thelumberjackswife August 13, 2010 at 8:13 am

Great idea! I love it. They will have fond memories of that!

tickledred August 14, 2010 at 7:28 am

Thanks :) It’s keeps those little monkeys chilled out for a bit as well. Tip: Lots of crazy voice and theatrics from the reader {wink, wink}

CityMom2 August 17, 2010 at 11:03 am


You are so clever to instill that love for literature. Books can take us anywhere we desire. And having that time belong to you is such a gift.

My babies are 24 and 15. I still remember the last time my oldest and I read a book together. He was 15 and it was J.K. Rowling’s Goblet of Fire. After that, he got a girlfriend…

My 15 year old has always preferred to read to himself.
They both loved “Where the Red Fern Grows”.

To Red, SleepyCat and Nancy,
I’m listening to The Voyager now. I love those books and the narrator is fabulous!

Also loved your cheesecake post :)


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