Thursday, 29 December 2011

People who don't have children.

Why do they let people who don't have children design things for people who do have children?

Yesterday, we took the children to lunch in the garden centre. (I know, we're all about fine dining and introducing them to new experiences here...)

In the well-equipped and planned baby changing room there were a changing mat, a big expanse for putting the baby on, a hook for your bag, a loo (top marks for that, because going for a wee in a very small cubicle while holding a baby is always fun)and a clever machine for those emergency nappy changing moments.

For the price of just a pound, it declared proudly (their capitals), you could have:

ONE soft disposable nappy (fits size 9-22 pounds)
ONE hygienic nappy bag

and, wait for it,

ONE baby wipe.

Now there's someone who's never changed a nappy....

Scottish Ballet's Sleeping Beauty (for kids!)

I'm not a dancer.  I don't have the build, or the grace, or the rhythmic ability.  Nor can I, as we are constantly exhorted to, dance like nobody's watching.  Because they always are aren't they?  And while I'd love to move like liquid, losing all my sense of self in the power of the music (and don't phrases like that make you want to kick someone, probably quite hard?), I just don't.  Can't.  Won't.

My children, on the other hand, love dancing.  Dancing is where it's at.  Whether it's a Spoonful of Sugar  or the Firebird.  They also have two classical music loving parents, so they're pretty well up on their Tchaikovsky and Prokoviev. (It was with equal parts pride and horror (poncy parent alert) that I heard L, aged just four, inform someone in a shop that her favourite song was "Stravinsky".)

So I was totally delighted when Scottish Ballet got in touch and asked if we wanted to take part in their Forty Winks Workshop which is running in Glasgow and Edinburgh.  The girls, obviously were so far beyond delighted there weren't words.

Having done our homework (downloadable sheets of colouring and questions about ballet and the story of the Sleeping Beauty, which will come in very handy for some while to come - we've got eight children in the house at the moment and have spent a very happy morning colouring in enchanted forests and drawing mutants (yes, they do feature in Sleeping Beauty, who knew?)), we bundled into the car yesterday morning for a trip to Edinburgh.

The workshops are taking place in the National Museum of Scotland which has just reopened and is amazingly brilliant, even without Sleeping Beauty Treasure Trails.   We though, skipped past the dinosaurs, Egyptian artefacts and rockets to the education centre where we spent two happy hours (S and A first, and then L and a chum) being trees, fairies, bluebirds and rocks (me only - so that my bluebird could perch on the top), and waving our wands, pointing our toes and generally having a marvellous time.

The highlights?  For me, the live accompaniment, with piano (clavinova), and percussion.  Their ballet lessons happen with a tape, and I think the live music added enormously to the experience.  For L, "climbing on Mummy". And "seeing a real ballerina".  Though as the ballerina in question (actually one of the Scottish Ballet's ballet teachers) was not wearing a tutu, we had to have a fairly heated debate about whether she actually counted.

Lack of tutus (and costumes, which we had hoped to see) aside, we had a wonderful morning and can heartily recommend the workshops, and, perhaps more, Scottish Ballet's wonderful website and youtube channel which have a wealth of resources for children of all ages.


Obvious disclosure - Scottish National Ballet invited us to come to the workshops (normally £6) for nothing.  They have also offered B and me a pair of tickets for the actual show (we reckoned the girls were a bit young still). I can't wait!

Sunday, 4 December 2011

When did we give up the definite article?

Pause for breath...

And rant.

What's wrong with the definite article? Those three little letters. You know the ones, you use them every day, hundreds of time, without thinking.


So what is it about having children that makes them disappear? And from the one word that everyone's using?


Let's listen to baby.
See, there's baby
Shall we change baby?
How's baby's weight?

No. No. No.  The baby.  Your baby.  My baby.  Not baby.

But I stay calm and I don't scream. Because when you're pregnant or have just had a baby everyone thinks you're hormonal and there's nothing worse than being mistaken for an oestrogen-fuelled lunatic when actually you're a grammar-loving pedant.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

What I most dislike about pregnancy and birth*

Not labour, or sore hips, or achy backs, or stretch marks, or heartburn, or morning sickness, or insomnia, or getting fat, or sore breasts, or saggy skin, or that strange taste in your mouth, or leaky breasts, or strange spots, or c-section scars, or sweeps, or mastitis, or stirrups, or unsympathetic midwives, or false labour, or elbows in the ribs, or needing the loo every ten minutes, or pelvic floor exercises (or the lack thereof), or not being able to eat brie...

Nope.  None of those.

The thing I most dislike?

Moulting. Still.

*with a caveat that clearly I was incredibly lucky to have easy, uncomplicated pregnancies and deliveries, and much worse things than any of these do, sadly, happen to much nicer people than me.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

I admit it: I'm rubbish at crafting with my children.

I have a guilty pleasure.  And yes, it's blogging related.  It's all those wonderful, beautiful blogs that show you amazing creative things you can do with your children.  Brilliant blogs like Red Ted Art or the Imagination Tree.  Only they're not really a guilty pleasure, they're more of a pleasurable guilt. Or just a guilt, in fact.

Because I'm rubbish at all that stuff.  I'm rubbish at the ideas, and, more importantly, I'm rubbish at the execution.

Because is it just me or does it always take significantly longer to get the stuff out and put it away than the time they're actually entertained doing it?  And does it not always end up with you turning your back to help one with a particularly intricate bit of gluing, and turn back to find the other two fighting over the scissors, or the blue paint or the sequins, or putting hand prints on the newly-painted walls.

And is it just my children or (whisper it) is the stuff they make not generally rubbish too?  And of course I can do wonderfully enthusiastic as well as the next mum, but what do you say when they catch you, twenty minutes later, surreptitiously shoving it in the recycling?

I could claim it's more difficult because I'm trying to entertain three.  Or that they're still very little. Or that they've got different abilities.  Or that I don't have the right tissue paper, or glitter, or glue.

Because I try.  I really do. We made these hats (now gathering dust on the table) on Monday.  But it's never quite what I want it to be.  I have visions of happy hours spent, chatting merrily, little heads bent in concentration over some masterpiece, while the clock ticks on unnoticed and we look up astonished that an entire afternoon has passed.  

And somehow, it never quite works out like that.  Maybe it's me.