Tuesday, 30 August 2011

The Learning Journey

Just for Foordie, this week we are back to the usual layout - me first, Granny second. Phew! Sorry for any confusion caused...

Tuppeny Nudgers and Other Grand Plans...

And so it is that I must stop swearing. Yes indeed, Cassie's learning journey (one of my favourite current classroom buzzwords) has come to a place where I can say to her "Go to your room, grab your socks out of the drawer, bring them here and then sit on the chair and I will put them on for you". So it would seem she is taking in what I am saying.


So with all the sponge like soaking up of motherly wisdom I realise that now is the moment to stop effing and blinding. It turns out that the rather over used word that means 'making the beast with two backs' is neither funny or cute when it is your child's first word. It has taken me until now to appreciate this.

Last week we trialled the substitute 'Tuppeny Nudger' (they're a band apparently?!) but that is a bit of a mouthful. And not a very tasty one at that. And it is quite hard to verbify.

So I thought I might revert to my 7 year old self, a sweet naive and innocent thing (no really, I was) who invented the word Ponks. It works well in many forms - ponking, ponker, ponkworthy, ponkatrons, and just good old fashioned ponkheads. It works when you are driving, or talking to your boss (mine, luckily is not a ponkhead, just for the record)d, it works in front of Granny (although Cassies' luckily could teach a trooper a thing or two about swearing) and it even works at school.

So hurrah for ponks and ponkers everywhere. If this week you are hammering and happen to catch your thumb, think of me and mutter quietly "ponks, ponks, ponking ponks".

Inside the Mind

Years ago I was invited to coffee with a new lady to our village. She showed me round her new house and in each room told me what improvements they planned to make. We ended up in the kitchen, she threw open the door and said, ”this is my favourite room, isn’t it great!”. It was a big room and one whole wall was covered by a wallpaper picture of a Swiss lake complete with snow capped mountains. I agreed with her that it was a lovely room and then, dear reader, I said, “it will be even better when you get that ghastly picture off the wall. Yes, you know what I am going to say, she looked very hurt and explained that she had spent all of the last weekend putting it up! Argh!

My point is that no two people every think exactly alike. We can never know exactly what is going on in another persons’ head and this is what makes watching a new human being grow and change so incredibly fascinating. Little Cassie has begun imaginative play. Last week she was playing on her little car, tooting the horn and grinning at her gramps when all of a sudden she blew the horn, cupped both her hands (around the sound?) and brought them over to give to Gramps. She did this several times and to her it was perfectly clear what she was doing whilst we sat and watched in open-mouthed amazement. What was going on in that dear little head?

Years ago whilst walking in the country with our four year old son I saw a pretty cottage which was for sale. “Wouldn’t it be lovely to live in that little house,” I said. “yes,” her replied tentatively, “but how would we get it home?”

It seems that not only do small children have entirely their own way of looking at things but their confidence in their imagined objects, play, and games, is as concrete to them as all the other things they have learned recently, walking, waving goodbye, drinking from a cup etc. And it is a wonder to behold.

They seem to have an innate understanding of basic physics, Cassie lifts her feet high and sticks her little pudgy legs out straight when mad granny pushes her round the room on her little car at great speed, and closes her eyes tight when something flicks towards her face, and yet they seem to be able to see things which are not there as well, the imaginary cup of tea or the sound from the little car horn…

I am glad we cannot see what is inside their little heads because watching them in their own little world is a wonder and a delight, a world we, as adults, have lost and are barred from.

Granny Bloggings

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Festival Madness

Groovy Baby

The skies are grey, rain is in the offing, so yes, it is that Music Festival time of year. Last year we took little Cassie to her first music festival and she slept blissfully through most of it looking very cute indeed in her pink ear defenders. This year I am guessing she will be a little more active which means that Gramps and I will be struggling to our feet from the picnic rug more than we are used to. Let’s hope the old knees, ankles and backs will stand it!

Forty years ago Gramps and I went to the very first music festival ever to be held in the UK. The Isle of Wight decided it could be the Woodstock of England. So off we went wearing our loons, tie –dye-three-button-t-shirts and leather sandals which smelled so strongly of the camel urine they had been cured in. It didn’t matter though as the smell of patchouli incense and weed was so strong that nothing could penetrate it. Fifty thousand people descended on the Isle of Wight and we all looked exactly the same! (Although it became apparent as the weekend progressed that some of the crowd, the ones with suspiciously short hair, big boots and Alsatian (sniffer) dogs were not, perhaps, as ‘laid back’ (daddy-oh) as the rest of us.)

The sun shone, the music was great, the weed was weak, and people made love not war, and when a press helicopter started circling overhead whilst the acoustic folk group, Pentangle, were playing, fifty thousand people rose to their feet and gave it a two fingered salute. God did we feel powerful – flower powerful? This was the sixties baby and us middle class rural baby boomers were taking a tiny sip of the elixir of the Age Of Aquarius!

No worries that weekend about the damp grass affecting the rheumatic knees! The funny thing is that it only seems a few minutes ago that those happy hippy young things were gramps and I. Make hay while the sun shines kids, life is short but it can be great!

Granny Bloggins

Festive Functions

This time last year I wrote a post about how I had lost my Joi De Vivre - we took Cass to her first ever music festival and while I was supposed to be being a cool and laid back Mummy all I did was worry about her eating and sleeping, and yes of course, pooing. I felt that perhaps I was never going to get my groove back and that maybe this was what motherhood was; a constant feeling of anxiety about the little midgetty person, just enough so that you never really relaxed and enjoyed yourself. Well, the good news is that that passed quickly and this year, I knew that when she needed to sleep, she would sleep, if she was hungry she would eat and all her other bodily functions would be just fine.

And indeed they were. While the music was great, the food overpriced (and as is so often the case at festivals, disappointing) and the festival atmosphere jovial, my favourite moment this year did indeed feature a bodily function. Sorry, I don't often do a post about poo, but here it is.

Apparently one of the top reasons that people list for avoiding festivals is the loos. I get that. Portaloos are not glamorous and don't exactly provide the leisurely experience of the home porcelain. Lucky for Cassie, she isn't potty trained (God forbid, she is only 17 months) and so had no issues with that.

So my resounding memories of this years festival will be my child backing up into a big hedge that she had located in order to do her job of work. Imagine the scene; a grubby little cherub, her tog suit pretty much muddy from head to foot, with bright pink ear defenders on, nuzzling (if you can nuzzle with your backside? does that make it buzzling?) backwards into a huge bank of shurbs, squatting and then doing the face. You know, the face. And pretending she is on her own by not making eye contact with any of the people passing by who were chuckling because they knew the face too.

Brilliant. What I like about motherhood is that every new phase gives you something new to enjoy, some new moment to cherish and some new challenge to work with, and so I think we might have to make this festival post a yearly event - what will be next year's festival 'Kodak Moment'?

The Mummatron

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Separation anxiety

As a slap-bang-in-the-middle-of-middle-class mother I spend most of my time worrying about how wrong I am doing everything and the other half of my time pretending that I am not worrying. So the most recent worry was that I am depriving Cass by not sending her to nursery. As you will know from previous rants, I decided to stay at home with her, so nursery was not on the cards, but clearly this was another something to worry about.

Perhaps we were creating a princess of gargantuan proportions by not socialising her in a nursery environment - would she be a teenager who could not tie her own laces, a university student who had no mates, or worse, a grown up who wouldn’t share her sweeties?! It just so happened that a friend was in a bind around the time that we were having this discussion (when I say we, I clearly mean I was having an internal monologue as B has learnt not to listen ages ago) and he needed a new member of staff for his business. So I got myself a job - how exciting, I get to wear my work wear again... No seriously, that was my main motive. So that meant that Cass needed somewhere to be for my two days a week.

Luckily the nursery down the road had spaces so off we went for a look. I’m not sure what happened between my house (empowered working mum) and the nursery (blob of weeping jelly), but somehow I lost my cool. And we were only there to have a butchers. I couldn’t control myself, pretty much everything set me off; the row of little tiny shoes by the door, the cute handprint pictures adorning the walls, Cass toddling off with nary a backward glance. I was a mess.

Still, we went ahead and I have marshalled myself. It has been a hard road getting her settled (for all of us!) and I still partially wonder what I am doing it for. My logical thinking brain says it is doing her good, but my mummies heart misses her and can’t imagine that anyone else will look after her as well as I will.

Yesterday she came home having painted, played in the woods, eaten loads of fruit, napped, played with her little friend Esther and generally had an all round good time. It just sounds like so much fun - I wanna play too!!
The Mummatron

I hate to say it, but you ain's seen nothing yet! Wait until she goes off to uni. on another continent!

At the age of 17 my baby opted to go to a university in Scotland at the same time as her parents had to move to the USA for Gramps' job. I don't think I can find the words to describe the feelings I had at that time. Of course my baby would ring up with tales of woe and I would spend the next few hours/days fraught with worry about how she was feeling and finally I would be unable to contain my worry any more and I would ring her to hear her cheery voice inform me that she couldn't stop to chat right now as she was too busy having fun! Argh!

I really didn't think it could get worse than that then last Sunday when it came time for Gramps and I to leave little Cassie after a day of fun and games, she put out her arms to us, pulled both our faces up to hers, pressed her face into ours and delivered kiss after kiss and face-hug after face-hug for about five minutes ......... and then we had to walk out the door and leave her!!!!! It may not be separation anxiety but it sure didn't feel like fun driving off down the road!

Granny bloggins

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