Thursday, September 15, 2016

A new addition to our bedtime routine

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After a final blast of wet weather last month, I think it’s quite safe to say that spring has finally sprung.

We celebrated the new season the first weekend with a relaxed, chilled-out family BBQ at King’s Park. After we had our fill of sausages, we took a slow, leisurely stroll along the familiar stretch of the park looking down on the iconic view of Perth city. I think it was probably the first time we were looking down on that iconic view together as a family. We pointed out various landmarks and marveled over the beauty of our home city together. It felt really special sharing that moment as a family.

I came across this quote which really sums up everything I felt so well about that moment…

A mother discovers with great delight that one does not love one’s children just because
they are one’s children; But because of the friendship formed while raising them.”

Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez
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We recently finished reading both books in Enid Blyton’s ‘The Wishing Chair’ series. We had such a blast reading them together every night. Nathan’s favourite chapter was the one about Magician Greatheart’s party. If you haven’t read these books in a while, read them again! I had the best fun revisiting all the old familiar stories and characters, especially since I was revisiting them through the eyes of my own children.

I also just started trying out this new thing with Nathan and Grace at bedtime. Instead of our usual bedtime story book, I just pull out a “Did I ever tell you the story about…” from my childhood. And they absolutely love it. Nathan is especially hooked and keeps clamouring for more. “Another one, mummy! Tell me another story about when you were a little girl! PLEEEEEASE!!!”. At bedtime earlier this evening, I told them my famous ‘Bird Story’. He was literally hanging on the edge of his seat listening to every word. And at the end of the story, he had such strong feelings of anger toward my dog Snowball for hurting the bird that he had trouble calming down.

I asked Nathan why he loved hearing these stories of when I was a little girl so much. “Because I’ve never heard these stories before, and I like to know what you were like last time when you were little and what you did and how you were like.”

And then I remembered how I too loved hearing stories like that from my own parents about their childhood. I gather each memory they shared like precious pearls because I knew that these stories are the only link I have to another time and place in history beyond my own tiny imprint on this vast, immense fabric of time.

I remember remarking to my mum one time when I was in my teens “I wonder if I had known you when you were in school or university, would we have been friends?”. It was just one of those random rhetorical questions. I’d like to think we would have been.

I thought about if Nathan were to ask me the same question today. I believe my answer would be a definite and positive “Yes”. Because I’m so loving the person he is right now and is growing into.

How strange and wonderful a thing it is to be best friends with your child.

Though if you think about it, it does make perfect sense after all.

Monday, September 05, 2016

A Mary Poppins epiphany

We’ve been having lots of really wet days last month.

Not your usual light drizzle. But full on stormy, pouring down with rain kind of weather. Too wet to play outside. Too stormy to go out anywhere. For a moment I wished I could wave a magic wand to make all the clouds disappear and bring out the sunshine and blue skies.

Do you remember Mary Poppins?

I absolutely loved watching that movie as a child (and still do). I remember one of my favourite scenes was when the children (and Bert) held hands with Mary Poppins and they magically jumped inside a picture and went off to have some funny little adventure there.

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How wonderful would it be if I could have some magical fairy godmother to whisk me away to some place else exotic and beautiful and WARM… perhaps to Bali or The Maldives. Summer in New York or Paris or London. Maybe Santorini or Nice. Even Singapore or my hometown KK…

Anywhere but this miserable, cold, wet winter in Perth.

I am just so DONE with winter here.

Please be OVER already.

Please. PLEASE… PLEEEEEASE!!!

 

Then one cold, rainy morning I found myself driving a train of chairs filled with children and afterwards sitting cross-legged on a mat sipping on tea and cakes made from air.

“Where we going now aunty Serene???” called out my cherubic passengers behind me.

“Oh, where would you like to go?” I called back.

“To the zoo!!! The zoo!!!” they yelled excitedly.

“Okay, buckle your seatbelts, children! Here we go! Toot, toot!”

“HOORAY!!!”
”There it is! There’s the zoo! I see it!”
”Oh, I can see an elephant!”
”I see a lion!!! ROAR!!!”
”There’s a giraffe!!!”

We got off our ‘train’ and walked around pointing out all sorts of animals and creatures. Somehow a lion ended up escaping from it’s cage. So we all screeched and hurried back to our ‘train’. “Quick! Quick Aunty Serene! Before he eats us!!!”

And then I had one of those epiphany type moments.

It was a Mary Poppins moment.

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I realised that I  was Mary Poppins.

Using my magic…

We made a train out of chairs and travelled to all sorts of places…
the shops, the library, play group, the park, the swimming pool , the zoo.

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We made a secret fort from blankets to hide out together…

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We used paper to make a familiar old story of the Three Billy Goats Gruff come alive…

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We transformed an ordinary morning tea into a real fruit shop…

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I wonder. Did all those adventures those two children have with Mary Poppins really happen? The adventure inside the chalk picture… the tea party on the ceiling… watching her pull out an endless number of things out of her bottomless carpet bag (sounds a bit like my bag too)…

Who knows?

Perhaps Mary Poppins was actually just a typical, ordinary, old nanny.

But seen through the eyes of those two children, she just seemed to possess a special kind of magic to turn ordinary everyday events into extraordinary adventures.

 


You can check out last month’s roundup of activities at our Family Day Care and more of my other play and learning ideas. Stay tuned for next month’s roundup!