Showing posts with label play. Show all posts
Showing posts with label play. Show all posts

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Game on

"Come on Mummy, you can do it!" Could I though? Could I really? It turned out I could. Hop, skip and a jump along the towpath, ignoring the stares of the more sedate grown-ups out for a walk. That's all there was to it. Yes, I know, we are not talking about rowing across the Atlantic here, but for some reason I seem to have lost the ability to play with my children. Now the summer holidays are upon us, I am struggling to re-discover my inner child.

A boy's feet with a crab in a bucket - crabbing!
Recovering the lost art of entertaining the kids!
A whole year of working freelance, finishing off my novel and squeezing out the odd blog post has left me devoid of play skills (and I mean the physical, get-down-on-the-floor, act-like-an-idiot mode of play). When my kids were little, I wasn't too bad at it. Apart from that first culture-shifting moment at a Monkey Music class in Earlsfield, where I realised that parenthood now required me to sing ridiculous songs and swing my arm like an elephant's trunk, I generally managed to get down to my kids' level in those early years. 

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Back in Neverland

I was sorting through photos on the computer this week and came across a video clip of the children from about five years ago. Oh my! Just watching them giggling together and scampering around a sunlit meadow made my heart clench. I wanted to reach into the computer screen and pull those chubby little pootles out onto my lap. Those were the days when they were the beginning and end of my world. They took precedence over everything - my career, my ambition and sometimes even my sense of self.

Two children cuddling in a garden
Rose-tinted childhood
How have all those years shuffled by so quickly? My daughter starts secondary school in September. She is on the cusp of teenage-hood and yet she can still slip effortlessly into imaginary games with her younger brother. I watch them playing together and wonder if this is the last summer of innocence. At a recent new girls' day, one of the teachers explained how he too would have girls starting at the school. "I share your joy and your pain at watching them grow up," he told us.

I am so proud at how far my daughter has come. I am also genuinely excited about the opportunities that now lie within her grasp: the literature she will devour, the mysteries she will solve, the drama of finding herself and launching that identity into the world at large. It won't be long before she becomes an independent person with dreams and projects of her own. So why the pain? Why do I look back and mourn the child that she was?

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Tears at night-time

Review: 
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

My husband had a little cry a few weeks ago. This is not uncommon. He is not one to baulk at public displays of emotion. His wedding speech is legendary. We weren't entirely sure whether he would get through it. I, on the other hand, inhabit the stiff-upper-lip end of the spectrum. It is true that I am thawing with age, but generally speaking I am a dried-eyed kind of girl.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (play).jpg
Via Wikipedia
The trigger for my husband's tears was a trip to our local cinema to watch a live link-up of the National Theatre production, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. We both enjoyed the book by Mark Haddon and had heard good things about the play (it won seven Olivier awards). As we hurried to the cinema, however, we both wondered how on earth you could stage a deeply personal novel set inside the mind of the storyteller: Christopher Boone, an emotionally dissociated teenager.

We were to be proved wrong of course. Using theatre in the round, a minimalist stage design and stylised moves, the play takes you on an emotional journey through Christopher's mind and to the universe beyond.  We enter a world of comic poignancy, where harried parents struggle to cope with their brilliant, autistic son. Equally, Christopher struggles to interact with a local community that fails to understand his limitations. It is a breakdown of empathy on both sides.