My daughters love going to the aquarium, and honestly, who doesn’t? But it can be really expensive, especially if you buy food and drinks there. So what if you don’t want to spend that sort of money, or if you just want to stay at home? It turned out to be wonderfully easy! This is all just made from scrapbooking card stock that I had left over, and of course copious amounts of sticky tape. We had a great time putting it all together, and now the kids are having under-the-sea adventures. Elspeth is apparently a diver, and Evelyn is a friendly shark!
As a child, I had a vivid imagination and was an avid reader. I lived in fantastical worlds, worlds from books or from my own imagination. In my games I was a princess, an adventurer, a damsel in distress. Anything was possible.
But my childhood (and ongoing) fascination with fantasy has led to a profound sense of dissatisfaction as an adult. Everyday life is drab, humdrum. Real people never embark on great quests or do battle with forces of evil.
Part of me knows it is ridiculous to even feel this way. In the words of Tim Minchin, ‘Isn’t this enough? Just this world? Just this beautiful, complex, wonderfully unfathomable natural world?’ And he’s right, that should be enough. It is pretty amazing.
But where are my dragons? Where’s my holy grail, my quest, my dangerous journey, my mind-reading powers, my bow and arrow with which I will bring down the powers of evil, my letter from Hogwarts?
And so I ask this of my readers: If you had to raise a child, would you want it to have a vivid imagination and then later be disappointed by life? Or would you rather your child be completely down-to-earth and practical?
I love parenting, I really do. There are all sorts of wonderful things about having kids. But I think my favourite thing, the most amusing thing, is the things I find myself saying, and the things I find myself listening to. Things which, out of context, would range from puzzling to absolutely mind boggling.
“Goat, get out of my wine glass!” I said this evening. Obviously I am required to speak to each toy as though it were sentient, rather than to Elspeth who really controls it. It worked, as Goat immediately got out of my wine glass and started playing on the table instead.
“Evie, stop eating the paddock!” cried Elspeth recently. One simply had to know that a matchbox was a pretend paddock for a toy sheep, and that Evelyn was chewing on it.
“The fish need another chocolate biscuit,” Elspeth tells us quite regularly. She’s referring to the algae biscuit we pop in the tank for the sucking catfish. She is very keen on feeding the fish!
There are more, almost daily, things I hear and say that make me laugh. Being a parent is awesome.
My friend Awanthi recently pointed me in the direction of something new to try for my girls, particularly Elspeth: Cloud dough! It’s a little bit like playdough, but softer and silkier. It’s almost a bit like sand. The idea is to give kids a different sensory experience, something new to touch and feel and interact with.
I made a small batch of it this morning (2 cups of flour, 1/4 cup of baby oil), and Elspeth loved it. When I finally said we had to put it away and have lunch, she threw a tantrum because she wanted to keep playing with it! The only drawback is the mess; next time I think we’ll use it outside!
13th March 2011
Aidan: What’s daddy’s real name?
8th March 2011
Ellie: The cat, the cat!
Me: What cat?? *can’t see a cat*
Ellie: The gone cat.
29th March 2011
Ellie: Cuppa tea! Cuppa tea!
Me: Do you want mummy to have a cup of tea?
Me: That’s a good reason for me to have a cup of tea!
8th Sept 2011
Me: Time for a bath!
Ellie: Moo moo, I’m a cow!
Me: Cows need baths too.
Ellie: No they don’t, just Ellie.
Me: Well, ok, are you going to be Ellie so you can have a bath?
Ellie: Ummmm…. yes!
5th May 2012
Ellie: I’m taking my little dog for a little walk.
Me: That’s nice, everyone should have a hobby.
Ellie: I’m not a hobby!
9th May 2012
After giving Elspeth a small amount of his chocolate mousse, Aidan said to Elspeth, ‘No more of that, or you’ll be bouncing off the walls.’ She replied, in a reproving tone, ‘You shouldn’t bounce off walls.’
21st May 2012
Ellie: What’s that cat doing?
Me: Sitting on the roof of our shed.
Ellie: Will he come down?
Me: I don’t know, you’d better ask him.
Ellie: Can you come down here, cat? Come on, I’m down here. Down on the ground. Come on, come on, quick sticks!
23rd May 2012
Ellie: Giraffe sneezed!
Me: Did he put his hand over his mouth?
Ellie: Giraffes don’t have hands.
Me: So what did he put over his mouth?
Ellie: His tail.
Elspeth was just telling me a story, and it was quite hilarious, so I’m going to try to transcribe it as best I can.
A big tall tree, and there was a giant cat up there. And she said, ‘Oh, hmm.’ And walked in the forest. Meow meow meow. She ate cat food. And laughed and laughed and laughed, and said, ‘Good morning, I just wanted to eat the peas all up.’ She almost goes home. The elephant talked to the cat, and it turned into another elephant. Two elephants. The elephants were going to there. They talked to the cat. And they said, ‘Oh, this is lovely. I brought you a present. It’s a cat!’ There was nothing in there. And she said, ‘Oh my goodness, what I found!’ She was looking for peas. Cat was. And she saw a lion came over. And the lion said to the cat, ‘I got a present, there’s something in there.’ And I said, ‘Oh my goodness. Did you?’ All the animals, all the animals! They have to see, they’re very good friends. Ok, what were you laughing at? And I said, ‘Oh my goodness, what did I say?’
She is still going, but it’s getting convoluted! Something about being at a beach and getting hungry…