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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Ahem, run that past me again?

It may sound unkind but I would have to say that my mother was a health hazard.

That aside, she had many worthy talents including considerable skills as a dressmaker. Inevitably, we, her children, would fall victim to the strange ritual of trying on the half made garment full of pins and tacks and bits of greaseproof paper. I would stand on the carpet with my mother crouched at my feet as I followed her instructions to turn slowly in circles, to see if the hem was level. Her actual words were incomprehensible, muffled by a mouthful of pins, pointy side inwards. This is how I learned my ‘rotation whilst static’ skills, assisted by advanced toe creeping, but it was a perilous existence.

We would sit of a family evening, glued to the telly, whilst my mother busied herself with some project. At some unpredictable moment she would leap from her chair and announce “oh no! I’ve lost my needle / pin / scissors / other lethal weapon.” I was never quite sure how to react to these proclamations. They were often accompanied by an additional command such as “don’t move! or stay right where you are! or aren’t you going to help! or it could be anywhere!’ I suspected that she kept a catapault in her pocket for maximum carnage.

Quite often I find that it is little pokes from the past that help me remember how different a child’s perspective can be from an adult's.

These days, I am very much aware that dangerous ‘triggers’ lurk around every corner for the unwary but I never know what form the latest edition will take.

My son and daughter enjoy the latest craze, Webkinz, just like their forebears of Gonks, Trolls and my pukey little ponies. It's a phase and a culmination of painfully acquired skills:- do your chores, earn your pocket money, save it for three weeks and a Webkinz can be yours for the squandering.

My youngest son is less keen, interested, willing to be wooed but cautious.

“I am be figured,” he bellows at my elbow.
“Really, um…..why…….what have you figured dear?”
“I am be figured it out! Dat is a figure of speech.”
“Indeed it is.”
“Do you like figures of speech?”
“No but I be figured it out anyways.”
“What have you figured out.”
“Dat dey are not cacti.”
“What isn’t a cactus?”
“Cacti! Cacti! Cacti! It be double, it be Latins.”
“Ah……so who are not cacti?” I am already out of my depth and mired several yards into the bog.
“Yes, porcupines are animals not plants.”
“Dey are spikey. Hedgehogs is spikey too.”
“Yes they are. They’re both spikey and they’re both animals.”
“Oh dear, yes they are.” I’m stuck, up to my neck in it and sinking fast.
“But dey are not cacti.”
“So true, so true.”
“So I am bin touch dem. I am be brave.”
“What are you going to touch?”
“Dah Webkinz which are not real spikes.”

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