Archive for the ‘conversations’ Category

Gasp!

August 9, 2015

Babess had her reading comprehension test this week, an individual test with her teacher. “How did it go?” I asked.

“Pretty well. I think I got it all right,” she tossed off nonchalantly.

“Oh? Well done, then.”

“The first thing we had to read was: ‘She looked out the window and gasped’. Mrs D said, ‘Why do you think she gasped?'”

Babess looked at me expectantly.

“Well, why do you think she gasped?”

“I said, ‘because she was in amazement’. Because that’s something that would make you gasp.”

It’s all so obvious when she explains the world.

© UpsideBackwards 2015.

A good week

February 23, 2015

“Come on kids! Shoes on, find your hats, we’re going to the zoo with your uncle & aunt & cousin!”

Fainjin looked vaguely surprised. “Are you coming too, Mum?”

“Yes!” I said, “Did you think I wouldn’t?”

He came & wrapped his arms around me. “Well… I thought you might stay home and have a rest, or do some sewing… maybe work on your memory quilt from our trip…”

My heart melted. “Do you think I need a rest, then?”

He snuggled closer. “Yes, probably, ‘cos you do a lot.”

This was after he had got up rather early but made a conscious choice to play with a quiet jigsaw rather than rattle through the Lego. He had also dried the dishes with no protest at all, had a great ukulele lesson, and had worked hard at school all week – this last backed up by his very reliable best friend, who keeps an eye out for him.

I’m making a deliberate effort to emphasise consideration for others with the kids this year. I hadn’t meant me, just people in general – but it’s nice to have some of it rub off!

© UpsideBackwards 2015.

Now I know where I stand…

February 22, 2015

At the zoo yesterday, Babess didn’t see the cheetah until I pointed it out. “It’s looking right at you!” I said. “Probably thinking ‘oooh that little girl looks yummy, I wonder how fast she can run?'”

Babess harrumphed. Mum jokes are apparently as bad as “Dad jokes”.

“I bet I could run faster than you if I was being chased by a cheetah,” I tried to get a smile.

You can’t run faster than a cheetah!” she correctly assessed.

“But I don’t have to – I only have to run faster than you!” I joked.

“Then you can carry me,” she reasoned.

“Then I’ll be slower, and the cheetah will get us both,” I said.

She barely paused for thought.

“Then Dad can carry me.”

If that happens, I think I’m catfood.

© UpsideBackwards 2015.

Beef

February 2, 2015

“Roast for dinner?” Pearl asked, looking at the meat in the pan surrounded by veges. “Beef?… lamb?”

“Yes, beef,” I replied, just as she continued, “I don’t think it’s pork or chicken.”

“So cow,” she decided.

“Well, probably a steer, actually,” I remarked, and she looked at me quizzically.

“Doesn’t beef come from cows?”

“It comes from a cattle beast, yes, but mostly cows are kept for milk, and bulls or steers are kept for meat.”

I half-expected a question about bulls vs steers, and mentally prepared myself, but instead she said, “So… cows are girls and bulls are boys, right?”

“That’s right.”

“So… what are they? I mean, you have men and women and together they’re humans, so what are cows and bulls together?”

“Cattle,” I repeated.

She rolled her eyes, a skill she is ever-improving upon. “That’s just confusing. Why don’t we just call them all cows?”

“In that case, why don’t we just call all people women?” I countered.

She paused, and a gleeful light came into her eyes.

“That would be… AWESOME!”

© UpsideBackwards 2015.

Skywriting

February 2, 2015

Over lunch today, Babess suddenly said, “Mum! I just realised something!”

I raised an eyebrow encouragingly.

“You know when flies are going around, buzz buzz like that, and it looks like it’s just random?”

“Ye-es…?”

“I just realised! They’re really showing you their phone number!”

“Really?!”

“Yes! ‘Cos they go from this side, then up like that then the other side is open and they do that…” she explained inefficiently but with expansive and complicated gestures.

“Do you think flies have their own phones?” I enquired.

“Yes!” she was astonished that I would even entertain the idea that they didn’t. “Otherwise how will their schools know where they are?”

I conceded the point. “But how do they carry them?”

That slowed her down only momentarily. “Between their wings, tucked up like that.”

So now you know.

© UpsideBackwards 2015.

When Babess grows up…

January 19, 2015

A couple of conversational gems from Babess over the last week.

“Mum, you know how I’m going to keep doing jazz?”

“Yes, sweetie.”

“I’m going to do lots of it and get really good. And…” she lowered her voice and leaned in to confide, “I might get… famous.”

“Oh?”

“Yes. And I’m going to do jazz until I’m nineteen.”

“Nineteen, huh? What will you do after that?”

“Tap.” She was very matter-of-fact, but paused to consider. “Or maybe that one where you dance by yourself.”

Pearl & Babess were discussing what Babess might do when she grows up. “I’m going to work in a mall,” declared Babess. The Dad choked a little bit but luckily isn’t the sort to get distracted enough to drive off the road. The conversation in the back seat went on.

“Aren’t you going to rule the world?” Pearl asked, amused, and echoing a prediction I have made myself.

“No!” said Babess, incredulously. “I can’t do that. I’m not in the royal family! And besides, I’m not a man.” (The Dad heard that last bit; I didn’t, or I would have wept).

“You don’t have to be!” interrupted The Dad. “You could be elected President… The royal family don’t rule the world, anyway – actually no-one does, yet…”

“No, I’m going to work in a mall,” she decided.

Maybe she’ll rule the retail world?

© UpsideBackwards 2015.

Thank you, tree

January 9, 2015

We have a plum tree in our garden. It’s a cherry plum, planted by previous owners for its blossom and red leaves rather than its fruit. But the fruit is certainly edible. The plums are very small, and have relatively large stones, so they’re a bit annoying to eat, but they taste ok.

In the last few years I’ve used them mostly for making jam, which they are excellent for.

The tree is right outside my bedroom window, so it’s easy to see the plums growing and ripening. They don’t change colour – they’re purple right from the start – but you can tell when they’re ripe because they start dropping from the tree and the birds get very interested in them.

Babess has been asking when we can start picking them, so today I got her to help me with the harvest. She picked all the ones she could reach, and pointed out higher ones to me. I passed them down to her to put in our container. There were a few too high for me to reach, which we decided to leave for the birds to feast on, and there’s one I missed which is clearly visible from the bedroom window so it will taunt me for days to come.

But we filled our 2-litre container with 93 small plums.

93 plums in a box

93 plums in a box

Afterwards, I washed them and boiled them into pulp, then skimmed out the stones (which is why an accurate count is necessary). I also skimmed out the skins, which I blitzed in the food processor before returning them to the pulp. I didn’t have the time or energy for sterilising jars today, so I froze the pulp for a later jam-making date.

But first, carrying the fruit inside from the harvest, Babess stopped to pat the tree trunk.

“Thank you, tree!” she said. “Please give us some more next year. But… lower.”

© UpsideBackwards 2015.

 

Music in the air

August 27, 2014

This morning Babess was ready to go a little earlier than I was, so I sent her out to get her scooter ready to go to school.
After a short time she came running back in, breathless with excitement.
“Mum! Guess what’s outside?!”
“Um, I saw the neighbours are taking down their old fence,” I said, “I think they’re going to put up a new one.”
“Well, but there’s Something Else!”

I am continually amazed at her ability to enunciate capital letters. It’s a great skill to have. “Goodness me, whatever could it be?” I played along.
“On the driveway, there’s a… Harmonica. Wing!”

I blinked. A what?

“I’m sorry, I don’t understand. What did you say, sweetie?”
“A harmonica wing!”
“A… harmonica?… wing?”
“Yes, a harmonica wing. Like, harmonica butterfly?” C’mon, Mum, stop being dense!

“Oh! A monarch butterfly wing?”
“YES! Come see!”

And so I did. (It was a Red Admiral wing, actually).

© UpsideBackwards 2014.

Cyber clams

March 21, 2014

Earlier this year, Babess’ class at school discussed cyber-safety.  They watched an information video about cyber-bullying and digital footprints, and talked about it in the classroom, as well as bringing home a letter for parents to discuss as well.  The video featured a cartoon dolphin and some other sea creatures and their (mis)adventures online.

All well and good.  It’s great that schools are teaching this kind of awareness right from the start.

But this week the topic of bullying came up (indirectly) at our dinner table.  Babess piped up confidently, “I know about cyber-bullying!”

“Great!” I said.  “Tell us all about cyber-bullying.”

She retold a scene from the cartoon her class had watched, with lots of detail and character names.

“But what would cyber-bullying look like if it happened to you?” I asked.

She looked at me as if I’d suddenly sprouted a second head.

“Mu-um!” she admonished.  “I’m not a sea-creature!”

When The Dad & I could control our (slightly appalled) grins, we had a great family discussion about what cyber-bullying really is, and Fainjin and Pearl made valuable contributions too.

But today I had a quiet word with Babess’ teacher, just to make sure she wasn’t the only child who assumed cyber-safety is something you only need underwater.

© UpsideBackwards 2014.

Being watched

March 20, 2014

Fainjin proudly showed me a page in one of his exercise books.  The class had been asked to write down things they love.

Fainjin had drawn a big heart, and put his words in and around it.  I saw Lego, dragons, robots, ice cream… no big surprises there!

“What’s this one?” I asked, pointing to where he’d written “Guses”.

“Jesus!” he said.  “And God’s there too,” he pointed.

“Oh, of course, silly me.”

He leant in close and confided, “I had to put those guys in, in case they might get mad or something.”

I was slightly shocked, and amused.  “No, Fainjin, that’s not what happens!”

But he interrupted me, looking over his shoulder, and whispered, “Mum! They’re everywhere!”

Possibly a religious-education failure right there.

Fainjin loves...

Fainjin loves…

© UpsideBackwards 2014.


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