Saturday, 26 December 2015

Christmas According to Gertie

It began a few weeks ago with the raised eyebrows, mocking tone of voice and fingers making inverted commas around the word 'Santa'. For Gertie, aged eight, some of the magic of Christmas seemed to have been lost.

And yet it has been something of a social whirl since she broke up from school. There have been parties and play dates and sleepovers. In fact, she has barely spent a night at home and when she has it has usually been accompanied by a friend. And many of them seem to be just that little bit less cynical and worldly wise than Gertie; and I imagine that over those late night bonding gossips and midnight feasts (the sweet wrappers and orange peel beneath her bed is a sight to behold) the question of the man in red must have come up.

And there has been a definite shift in attitude in these final few days. So, whether it is posturing for the sake of her younger brothers, a kind of 'Santa agnosticism', or a last ditch attempt to make sure that her stocking was filled - more magical discussion and less eye-rolling has taken place (the Santa-tracker app was also instrumental) and all is well.

Currently reading: The Road That Led To Where by Sally Gardner
Currently driving: Triumph Spitfire in Pageant Blue.  Clever Hearth-Father in his choice of Christmas present! Who needs Santa?

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Feel the Force

I'm all nativitied out, now.

Gilby was a shepherd in his school production: A shepherd dressed in black with sunglasses and a walkie-talkie, but we love a cheeky anachronism or ten.

Eddie was a king (of course, again) in his nursery version.

Both delivered their lines beautifully, knew all the words and actions of their songs, made their mother cry and generally did what nursery and primary school nativity productions are supposed to do - including providing those moments of sublime but unintentional comedy through missed cues and prop-handling (poor baby Jesus slung mercilessly into his cradle is perennially amusing.)

Gertie's class do the Easter production (unless this is her way of letting me down gently with the news that she didn't get a part this year) but she watched her brothers in their different shows patiently and supportively.

And all three were on parade again this morning. It was the advent 'family mass' where the children took responsibility for all the key moments of the service.  Gertie led the opening prayer and lit the advent candle and Gilby wrote and shared his bidding prayer. They both had 'acting' roles in the gospel.

Eddie played with his lightsaber, mostly - and after some cajoling took part in the offertory procession.

But his main, unscripted contribution took place during the contemplative calm of the Eucharistic prayer. He took himself off to stand in front of the kneeling congregation and demanded, loudly, 'When are you all going to stop BEING LIKE STATUES?'

It had the desired effect, since some of the assembled worshippers were, indeed, unable to maintain their stillness; there was some definite shoulder-shaking.

Currently reading: Remember Me by Melvyn Bragg

Friday, 4 December 2015

Snapshot Review of Children

I feel as though I have known, from earliest days, the personalities of the little people in my household.

Among the zillion wonders of parenthood is the one about bringing up siblings in ostensibly the same environment, (alas, income hasn't changed dramatically in the last nine years) with the same genetic 'ingredients' and the same routines and values - only to find that, in spite of looking like peas in a pod, they couldn't be more different.

I have made predictions about the futures of Eddie, Gilbert and Gertie and, in the interests of not creating a self-fulfilling prophecy I shall elect not to repeat them. I merely offer a little snapshot as we near the end of 2015.

Gertie has come home from school today pleased with the carol-singing performance she gave at the old people's home. She practised her flute for a bit, intermittently lamented the immaturity of her brothers and then settled down with one of her new (read 'second-hand') books from the Lyons books store (10p each - ever a bargain).

Gilby (having blackened his fifth clean shirt of the week and lost his bookbag) was musing on the way to the Lyons book store about whether the Arsenal book he had his eye on last time would still be there (a weighty pictorial history at 30p; I love this charity shop).  On considering the awful possibility that someone else may have bought it, he consoled himself with the notion that if someone else had indeed made the purchase, that would mean that at least there was another Arsenal fan like him close by.

Eddie had a twinkle in his eye when I collected him from nursery.  'It's official,' explained one of the teachers. 'Eddie has a girlfriend. At this afternoon's nativity rehearsal he was found backstage kissing her.'

He's four.

Currently reading: The Taxidermist's Daughter by Kate Mosse and Little Red Chairs by Edna O'Brien (Two on the go due to December book-club clash)