Monday, 28 May 2012

rules are there to be broken

a friend of mine looked after my kids at the post-olympic torch picnic for 20 minutes until i could join them and kindly treated them to an ice-cream. 

friend: 'what kind would you like, youngest?' 

youngest: 'please may i have a double ice cream with a chocolate stick?'
(typical - trying it on with a stranger to see whether he gets away with it)

eldest: 'youngest! we're only allowed a normal ice cream! those are mummy's rules!'
(typical - definitely do not live dangerously)

(and in case you're curious:
friend: 'good, because those are also my rules!'
poor deprived babies of mine.)

Friday, 25 May 2012

toasters and rabbits

went to see this play today; 'in the next room or the vibrator play' - did you know that about 100 years ago, vibrators were used to treat women for hysteria?! apparently in around 1910 there were more vibrators than toasters in American households - makes me wonder what the statistics are today

it was beautifully done - fabulous acting, which must have been a challenge because the play contains a real mix of hilariousness and serious undertones set against a backdrop of early 20th century goings-on. apparently theatres in london are interested in hosting this performance - i hope they do; this evening out was such a treat! 

Sunday, 20 May 2012

eldest in the morning

she has more important things on her mind than to get ready for school. she gets up and starts to draw pictures, write poems, play the piano or her brother's guitar until i tell her it really is time for breakfast now. then she cheerfully gobbles up her porridge, at her own pace, brightly chatting away to us. at some point i feel the need to suggest she gets dressed, brushes her teeth, her hair, puts on her shoes, puts on her coat. 

'mum-my! don't  - just - keep say-ing that!'

(she hates being told what to do. now who does that remind me of?)

'yes darleenk but if i don't say it you don't do it and then you're late for school'

she's not happy

'how about we make a deal. instead of saying what you need to do, i simply ask you whether you're ready yet'

it's a deal.

it works.

(7-year old in schooliform with hair & teeth brushed, no shoes on)

'are you ready?'

(severe look of serious concentration - then face brightens up)

'no! i have to put on my shoes!'

(rushes to do the same)

off we go to school. life is bliss.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

grow your own palmtree

today, for the second time in my life i was confronted with an instruction manual that was headed 'this needs to be erected by at least two people'. this was followed by increasingly scary threats, basically along the lines of, if i didn't follow these instructions to the letter then it would be the end of me. and my children. and parents. and pets. and my house might fall down.

hmpf! couldn't they have told me that when i pressed 'confirm order' on my little laptop?! luckily, the children came to the rescue and held up various quite heavy pieces of metal. (they didn't die in the process) with my new hammock stand (plus the lovely hammocks i've had for ages and hardly ever used because of a lack of suitable trees), i am ready for the summer and i don't need to grow my own palm tree. :-)

Saturday, 12 May 2012

wow words

in youngest's class they're practising story telling using pie corbett's techniques - great fun. virtually every word has an 'action' attached to it (check out how he tells the little red hen story) but also the children learn to describe people, situations, and things. in this context, youngest has devised a game: think of a letter, then everyone has to make a word with that letter plus give a good description of that word. you can win the game by thinking of the best word or giving the best description. 

'mama, let's play the game and the letter is p. the word is '(youngest)' and the description is he is the loveliest little boy in the whole wide world.' 

'ok - my word is parachute. it is made of large pieces of beautifully soft silk in all the colours of the rainbow. you fold it up into a rucksack, put it on your back, jump out of an aeroplane even though you're very scared, you pull the cord on the rucksack and  then the parachute unfolds into a massive great big jellyfish shape that prevents you from falling really fast down to earth. instead, you dangle in the air with the large jellyfish shape above you and you have all the time in the world to admire the amazing views of the tiny little houses below, the fields with the animals in them that appear larger as you come closer to landing really softly back onto earth.'

(a long discussion about parachutes and the desirability or otherwise to try them out followed)

'ok mama, now let's vote. i vote your word and description are the best.'

'thank you. i vote your word and description are the best.'

'ok mama, then we have both won.' (happy face)

'yes but you are the youngest so that means that really, you have won.' 

(check his face in rear view mirror - totally beaming. not that he's competitive or anything ;-) ) 

Friday, 4 May 2012

positivity ratio test

i discovered it on the action for happiness website: the positivity ratio test and i decided to take it (plus do my own version of happy rambles) for a week. score on day 1: 1.75 (read: miserable). Day 2: 3.33 (that's above what they call 'tipping point', so, not bad at all). Day 3: 3.35. dunno what the maximum score is, but must confess i catch myself not wanting to get too negative during the day because then at night i will have to confess to having felt 'extremely' 'contemptuous, scornful, disdainful', for instance. i wonder where this is going to end and whether it means i'm cheating......