Posts Tagged ‘writing’

Christmas Eve – a cautionary tale

April 6, 2014

Babess is a writer.  She’s always writing little stories, and I’ve given her an exercise book for her “home stories”, just like the ones she has for her stories at school.

This is one she wrote towards the end of last year, clearly taking some parental, um, “encouragement” to heart.

I’ve kept her spelling, but explained it where it might be necessary.

Christmis eve.

One night there was a gerl ho (who) didi’t go to bed her Mother called Santa and sed don’t do eny presints for the littil gerl so he didi’t gev eney present’s for her but he left a noet for her that sed be good but she thoht she hd been good all the time but she got it she didn’t go to bd so nexst Christmis she was good and she got a wond (wand), slepers (slippers) sollvorens (Sylvanian Families) and they all lived hapreley.

Lot’s of love from Babess.

© UpsideBackwards 2014.

Writing practice

July 6, 2013

Babess is enjoying school, from all accounts.  She is becoming more confident, but still playing the “I’m little and new” card somewhat successfully.  She is little, easily half-a-head shorter than anyone else in her class, and of slight build, so it’s easy to underestimate her.

She readily admitted one day that there was something she didn’t really want to do – of a schoolwork nature – “… so I just did the first little bit and then because I’m new Mrs X came and wrote the rest for me.”

I gave her a stern look and told her that wasn’t the right thing to do and won’t work for long – and had a quiet word in the teacher helper’s ear next time I saw her!

Although she hasn’t found the joy of writing her own stories yet, she does seem to enjoy the physical act of writing, and does lots of practice.  This evening she wanted to write some subtitles below a picture she had coloured in, of a princess or some such.  So she grabbed her brother’s book, “Horrid Henry’s Dinosaurs”, and copied out a chapter heading at random.

Now we have a lovely picture, all coloured in, sweetness and light, with the caption in beautiful handwriting: “Bloodthirsty beasts”.

This is why we had children.

© UpsideBackwards 2013.

Comings and goings

November 22, 2012

Babess has decided recently that we should all “sign in” or “sign out” when we leave or arrive home.  This is an idea she has adopted from daycare, I am sure.  She has an exercise book I gave her to draw pictures and practise her writing in, and she has devoted a page to be her sign-in sheet.

She doesn’t enforce the rule rigidly (thank goodness!), but when she decides it is necessary, she writes her own name and Pearl’s and Fainjin’s with ease.  Today she asked me to spell my name out for her, and she wrote that down too.

“How do you spell Daddy’s name?” she asked next.  I spelt it out for her.

“But…” she was confused.  “Where’s the D?”

So I spelt out “Daddy” instead of his name, and she was much happier.

© UpsideBackwards 2012.


November 19, 2012

Fainjin has discovered the exclamation mark.  His teacher was very excited by this, because he used it in his writing at school – appropriately – before they had even looked at exclamations in class.  He has noticed them while reading, and incorporated them into his writing repertoire all by himself.
Yesterday he spent some time drawing pictures to post to his cousins.  I encouraged him to write “a story” to go with them, but he elected to just write down what each picture was.

My favourite says, “on this picture is a deae spider and a flowr!”  (a dead spider and a flower).  Not mentioned is that the dead spider is on the point of a rocket.

I do wish he had written down a story to go with the picture though.  It must be quite a tale.

© UpsideBackwards 2012.

Dear Mummy

July 19, 2012

Today Babess wrote me a letter.  It must have taken her quite a while.  Her teacher wanted to put it in her profile book, but Babess insisted it had to come home because it was for me.

“Dear Mummy, Happy Birthday.  I hope you had fun at your birthday.  I wanted to say happy birthday because I wanted to come to your birthday and I wanted my birthday to be in Australia.”

Further, the word in brown is “chocolate”, because that is one of Babess’ favourite things, she says.  Some things don’t change.

© UpsideBackwards 2012.


October 13, 2011

Fainjin and I were talking tonight about what he might do at school next year.

“Which do you think will be more fun?” I asked, “Reading stories for yourself, or writing your own stories?”

“Ummmm…” he pondered a little while, then flashed a brilliant grin.  “I think playing in the playground will be most fun!”

© UpsideBackwards 2011.

No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader

August 25, 2011

Pearl and I had errands to run this evening after her choir practice, so as a treat we ended up having dinner in a cafe.  It was very pleasant, a lively busy place with great food and lovely service, and we got to have a bit of a mother-daughter catch-up.

I heard about the book she’s reading (well, the best one out of all the books she’s reading – like me at the same age, she seems to have four or five going at once), what they’re doing in maths at school, how hard the current orchestra piece is, and what she wants to do at the weekend.

Then she started telling me about the book she’s writing.  She’s up to Chapter Two, but apparently Chapter One is only one page long so she hasn’t written as much as you might think.  But she’s already got another book in mind, one for young writers like herself – it sounds like a handbook of sorts.

At this point there was a bit of a lull in the cafe noise, just as she was telling me the sort of thing she wants to put in this second book.

“I think it was Robert Frost who said…”

In the crowded cafe, the next table was only a few inches away.  I saw the distinguished-looking diner next to her do a double-take and shoot her a startled glance.  I suppose there aren’t many 8-year-olds who would (knowingly) quote Frost.

© UpsideBackwards 2011.


August 17, 2011

We – along with the rest of New Zealand – have had crazy wild weather this week.  A “once in 50 years” weather event, several days of intense cold, hail, sleet, graupel and snow.   We’ve had lightning and thunder, heavy rain, bitterly cold gales and heavy seas.  The weather has been the top story for all the tv news programmes and the newspapers all week.

Where we live, the snow hasn’t settled, but it did snow, to the children’s great delight.  The hail did settle, at least until the rain melted it again:

That's me, struggling down the driveway on the ice

Pearl wrote about the storm:


Pure white, cold snow drifting, crisscrossing down to settle on the turf.  Wet, wet snow dropping on my glasses.  I can barely see the hills for the snow is so thick.  I see people, running, running across the turf laughing, shouting with joy seeing, watching the first snow in forty years.  Big and little snowflakes settling all over my hands, my sweatshirt, my feet.  Thinning, thinning, slowly stopping.


Hailstones falling on my arm

© UpsideBackwards 2011.

“Hey Mum, listen to this story!”

August 14, 2011

Fainjin had a cheeky grin on his face, and was bursting to tell me his story.

“Once upon a time there was a dinosaur…”

“Waitwaitwait!” I was already on the computer, so I scrambled to open a window I could type into.  “OK, go on.”

“Once upon a time a dinosaur slept all day and all night and he watched tv all day and all night and… [pause, chuckle, then the next bit comes out in a rush] he scrunched the whole book!”

Fainjin sat back, pleased with himself, his sudden literary seizure exhausted.  I immediately sent this work of genius around the family.  It seems our young man might follow in his big sister’s writing footsteps.

And already he has his first review.  Uncle G (his favourite, and this might be why) responded with the following:

“Taut, pared-down prose, encompassing two seemingly incompatible acts, thereby capturing the complexity of modern life. And a powerful conclusion. Very impressive, Fainjin.”

© UpsideBackwards 2011.

Signs and portents

February 7, 2011

As we walked away from school this afternoon, Pearl suddenly stopped dead.  “Oh!  I was going to ask my teacher whether I could take my book home to finish what I was writing…”

I raised an eyebrow.  Asking for homework?  On the first Monday of the school year?  “Off you go, then, he’ll still be there.”

She scampered away, and soon returned happily clutching her writing book.

Looks like it should be a good year.

© UpsideBackwards 2011.

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