Tag Archives: children

Just Jazzy 210

paracosm (n) a detailed, prolonged, imaginary world created by a child; including human, animal and alien creations.

How many glasses of wine does it take for your childhood paracosm to magically come to life again?
One or two, but often zero! That’s how many glasses of wine it takes for my childhood paracosm to magically come to life. How about you?

 

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There was a childhood game we played on our front lawn at the farm, on warm sunny afternoons when a sufficient number of cousins showed up to join us. It was better than Simon Says, Hide and Seek,  Red Light or Mother May I, although we gave all of those a thorough going over too.

If this game had a name, I don’t remember what it was.  Everyone played a role, and the ‘play’ had a predictable plot that hardly varied.  And yet we repeated it over and over.  There was a parent (usually a mother), a wicked old witch, and the rest of the cast were the children.

The mother gave each of her children a name, based on some previously agreed upon category, the most popular being ‘fruits’.  These names were not shared with the witch, so Blueberry, Banana, Lemon and Purple Grape had to keep their identities to themselves.

After making the following little speech –

“I’m going down town to smoke my pipe and I won’t be back until Saturday night – DON’T LET THE OLD WITCH IN!” –

the mother would saunter off to the sidelines leaving her children home alone (on the front veranda) to fend for themselves.

Enter the old witch center stage, respectfully knocking on the door and asking to come in.  Well of course the children say no because they are good little children who always do what mother says.  Then the witch explains to them that she is making a pie and needs to borrow some fruit.  Do you have any apples, she might ask.  She continues to guess until she hits on the name of one of the children, and then off that child must go (across the lawn to the snowball bush beside the lily pond) to where the wicked witch resides.  Here the witch changes the child’s name to a category of her own choosing – birds, for instance, and Blueberry might become Sea Gull in the blink of an old witch’s eye.

Mother saunters home, noticing immediately that one of her children is missing.  The kids are afraid to tell her the truth and make up various stories as to where their sibling might be, but eventually they have to admit that the old witch got her.

Mother and children don’t learn much from this, and keep repeating the same mistakes of going down town and answering the door until all the children have been kidnapped by the witch and all their names have been changed.

Now it’s the mother’s job to march across the lawn to the snowball bush to confront the witch with her crime.  The witch tells her that the only way to get her children back is by guessing their new names. There are no fruits here, only birds.  If mom looks ready to give up, the kids or the witch can give her hints. Maybe the witch is having second thoughts about all these kids cluttering up her living space and making all that noise.

One by one the children are released and returned to the front veranda, renamed as farm animals this time, and on the game goes until all of them begin to suffer from identity crisis issues and start asking – “hey, wait, who am I again??”

Why did we love this game so much?  Why was the mother so negligent, and the witch considered wicked?  She was just taking abandoned children to a safe place after all and never harmed them.  Unless naming someone Watermelon can be considered a horrible thing.

I know there are many variations of this game, although the pipe smoking rhyme seems to be the one thing that doesn’t change.  Did you ever play this?  Or was there another childhood game that you loved and will never forget?

Cin’s Feb Challenge/Witchy Rambles

Just Jazzy 176

“Christmas! The very word brings joy to our hearts. No matter how we may dread the rush, the long Christmas lists for gifts and cards to be bought and given–when Christmas Day comes there is still the same warm feeling we had as children, the same warmth that enfolds our hearts and our homes.”
― Joan Winmill Brown

jazzy 176 advent 13 001
Let your heart be light.

Just Jazzy Advent Calendar

April Post For Peace

English: Children dancing, International Peace...
English: Children dancing, International Peace Day 2009, Geneva. Français : Enfants dansant, Journée internationale de la Paix 2009, Genève. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How do we teach children what peace means, and how do we raise our children to be peaceful?

The answer is amazingly simple.  We teach by example.  Simple answers don’t make the actual process easy of course.  We have all seen or been the parent who yells and rants, flips out and stomps off, slams a door, gets mad, gets even.  Kids mimic what they see, they repeat what they hear, and they either learn from our mistakes or they repeat them.  The best and maybe the only way we can teach our children what peace means is by living it.

My parents were both peaceful and peace-loving.  Mom always saw the best in every person she met and every situation she faced – she could put a positive spin on even the worst disaster, and point out some redeeming quality in a complete ass.  Dad forever saw the funny side of life.  It’s like I spent my childhood with a Mark Twain clone – he would tell us a funny story or make a witty remark or a silly comment that didn’t just make us laugh, it made us think.  My parents never had raging battles, and rarely even argued for long before coming to a mutually acceptable decision, even if the decision was simply to agree to disagree.

How incredibly lucky we were to be their children, sheltered from the violence and cruelty of the world for so long.  Of course the down side to that is not knowing how to react to, and cope with, furious anger and deliberate malice when confronted with it head on.  We were taught not to fight back and that peaceful resolutions were always to be sought, and almost always possible to reach.  We were shown that siblings can be our very best friends, that mistakes can be forgiven, that happiness is something you have to find within yourself because no one is going to present it to you on a golden platter.  I grew up knowing that anger you can’t let go of will just make everyone miserable.  No matter how uneasy the peace, it is always better to seek it than to let a conflict fester and grow.

So how have I done as a mother myself, after having been blessed with such shining examples to follow?  I wish I could tell you I’ve been the perfect wise and peaceful parent, but if you’re a parent yourself you know first hand there’s really no such thing.  Parenthood is something we muddle through hoping to keep the damage to a minimum.  We want peace and happiness and joy for our children and we will wish hard for it for the rest of our lives.

Before I became the incredibly smart old person that I am now, a newborn baby always looked to me like some blank little human that could be shaped and molded into whatever sort of person its family was capable of creating.  Not so great parents ended up with little brats.  How completely deluded that notion turned out to be.

Newborn child, seconds after birth. The umbili...
Newborn child, seconds after birth. The umbilical cord has not yet been cut. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Because a child is born with personality plus.  All we can hope to accomplish as his parent and guardian is to get to know him, keep him safe and watch him grow.  We can guide and console and love him but we can’t make him turn himself into something he is not, and perhaps was never meant to be.

The very hardest part about being a parent is knowing how much growing up we have left to do ourselves.  I sometimes think our children teach us just as much about life as we are trying to teach them.  Maybe more.  We give our children rules to live by, examples to follow, consequences for their actions.  It’s only fair that there should be some parenting rules, and for whatever they’re worth, here are mine.

1.  Keep talking to your child. Tell him what you think, what you believe, what you want, how you feel.  Some of it is bound to sink in eventually.

2.  Shut up and listen.  Let him freely express what he thinks, what he believes, what he wants, how he feels.  You will learn more things from listening to your child than you ever believed possible.  Have some serious discussions.  Share some laughs. Keep an open mind.

3.  Be loving and kind and compassionate.  Growing up is not easy.  You haven’t finished the process either, so be patient with your child, and be patient with yourself.

4.  Be grateful for what you have and less concerned with what you lack.  Know that ‘things’ themselves are not what make us happy.  Be generous whenever you can. It really is true that the more you give the more you receive, no matter what the ‘gift’.

5.  Support your childs creative nature and expanding spirit.  Share his happiness, share his joy.  Teach him that sharing the joy of others brings joy right back to him.  Be constantly delighted and astounded by the incredible person he is turning out to be.  His dreams are different from yours and his path is not the same as the one you are on.  How boring and disappointing it would be if we all raised little mini-me’s.

6.  Be okay with life.  Work with change, rather than against it.  Accept what is, let go, and let be.

When we are okay with life, there is no reason to fight.  When we are calm and confident and have a sort of mental equilibrium somewhere between what is ‘wrong’ and what is ‘right’, the tension and the struggle to go one way or the other disappears. I think that is called peace.  I think that is the only way we can teach it to our children, by showing them that we get it, that we want it, and that we live it ourselves the best way we know how.

Although you see the world different from me
Sometimes I can touch upon the wonders that you see
And all the new colors and pictures you’ve designed
Oh yes sweet darling so glad you are a child of mine

Child of mine, child of mine
Oh yes sweet darling so glad you are a child of mine

You don’t need directions, you know which way to go
And I don’t want to hold you back I just want to watch you grow
You’re the one who taught me, you don’t have to look behind
Oh yes sweet darling, so glad you are a child of mine

Nobody’s gonna kill your dreams or tell you how to live your life
There’ll always be people who make it hard for a while
But you’ll change their heads when they see you smile

The times you were born in may not have been the best
But you can make the times to come better than the rest
I know you will be honest if you can’t always be kind
Oh yes sweet darling, so glad you are a child of mine

Child of mine, child of mine
Oh yes sweet darling so glad you are a child of mine

Child of mine, child of mine
Oh yes sweet darling so glad you are a child of mine

bloggers for peace

My Baby Face

Long ago my mother had a camera without a flash.  She was always moving people into the bright sunshine to snap a picture.  There is nothing on my brothers face here except a big dollop of extremely bright light.  Some spots are over exposed and some are left in the shadows.

Mom always told me I was a very content and happy baby.  I liked to eat and sleep and laugh.  Not much has changed, really. But this picture is proof that even the happiest baby can raise a little hell.  Man, what a face.

The Questions and the Answers

It’s still snowing!  Here and for real outside!  Don’t worry Patrecia, I’m not going to jail anytime soon.  Unless they make ‘death by pie’ a felony.

I know this is a big cop-out but I simply don’t have the time or the energy to answer these prompts properly;  still I can’t help feeling that it’s rude to just ignore them.  So here are the questions!  And here are my lame answers!  It’s a BLOG!  Nobody cares.  HAHAHA!  Yes, perhaps they ARE coming to take me away.

Name your favourite old movie.   I kind of liked “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?”  starring Jane Fonda.  When I saw that one I thought she was brilliant.  And the story was excellent, but I gave the ending away to somebody and she’s probably never forgiven me for that – it completely ruins the movie if you know what’s going to happen.  So I’m not telling you anything else.

Do you enjoy winter sports like skiing and snowboarding?  Well I used to like to ski, and I think it’s a wonderful family sport, but it got crazily expensive and my bones got progressively more brittle and the kids grew up and W. got all wimpy about his back so we gave it up.  Snowboarding looks like fun.  Too bad there are so many idiots out there trying to injure themselves doing it.

When was the last time you saw a parade in person?  Apparently when I was very young, less than six but perhaps older than three….which would be a very wordy way of saying four or five…..I was at the Santa Claus Parade in downtown Toronto.  I remember absolutely nothing about it.  What I do remember is that my aunt was a dietician and she lived in the big city and she made us a really great meal.  She had red hair.  That’s about it.  Santa was totally wasted on me that trip.

Do you like children?  I used to be one of those.  I had two of my own.  They are a necessary evil I guess.

Who brings out the best in you?  Well now there’s a person I’d like to meet.  But I think he was killed in a bus accident shortly after I was born, so if you never see me at my best I suppose that could be why.

What are your most and least favourite things about the holiday season?  Least favourite is the shopping mania.  Although I’ve certainly been a part of that, trying to get the absolute best thing ever for everybody on my list.  You’d think by now I would have realized that it’s not even remotely possible to do that, and it’s time to give it up and get over it and just wrap something up and be done with it.  Let somebody else give the best present ever.  It does NOT have to be me.

Favourite part of the holiday season is getting together with family and friends and eating and drinking until I feel positively ill and then going off to take a nap somewhere quiet.  Although that’s not always possible.

If you could be involved in making a movie, would you rather act or direct?  I’d like to be the screen writer.  Then I could be all mad about how the actors aren’t right for their parts and the direction is pathetic.

What advice do you wish you had received earlier in life?  Do not ever aspire to become a screenwriter.  It will just piss you off in the long run.

List 10 things that you know to be absolutely certain. 

1.  There are 21 shopping days ’til Christmas.  If I continue to breathe I will still be shopping 21 days from now.

2.  Family is the absolute most important thing there is.  And the further you can extend your family, the better.  Like clear across the world and back is a good start.

3.  W is taking for flaming EVER to eat that damned apple pie.  Maybe he suspects something.

4.  Baby it’s cold outside.

5. People believe what they want to believe.  Otherwise they wouldn’t believe it.

6. It’s really hard to come up with ten things you’re absolutely certain about.  Because what if tomorrow everything changes?  Nobody wants to feel stupid.

7.  I have been blessed in this life.  I’m certain I should be WAY more appreciative of that fact.

8.  Tomorrow is the 4th of December and in one year and 17 days the world will end.  Okay, I’m not really certain about that personally, but there are people out there who are.  I certainly hope they’re absolutely wrong.

9. I am absolutely certain that nothing is absolutely certain.  Especially number nine.  Skepticism and doubt abound.

10.  I’m tired, my back hurts, it’s late, I have to work tomorrow and I’m going to bed.  Any one of those things could be a blatant lie, so you’ll just have to trust me on this because if I had to think up an eleventh certain thing I’d certainly be up all night. Goodnight, sweet dreams.  Oh and somebody gets shot in the end. Watch the movie. Quick, before I tell you everything.

Taking Risks

I guess if it takes a whole day for me to come up with some kind of risk I’ve taken that I’m happy about – and I can’t think of anything – I probably should accept the fact that I’m just one of those boring people with a very low risk tolerance.

I don’t like to gamble or make bets, or stick my neck out, or take shots in the dark. I’m not good at speculation or determining the odds. I just go with my gut feeling on most things, and then they turn out however they turn out.

I get in my car every day and drive. That’s putting myself in mortal danger; but so far I haven’t died because of it, even though it’s a kind of Russian Roulette.

I had a herniated disc operated on and got to say good-bye to chronic back pain, even though there’s always risks involved in any surgery and in this case there was a small chance that the pain might be worse afterwards than it was before. Didn’t happen, so good choice. Glad I risked it.

I got married and had children. That was kind of courageous, or ridiculously foolhardy, take your pick. So far I’ve survived it.

I like things to be safe and secure and certain and calm and predictable. The fact that they rarely are is not my fault. I don’t go looking for trouble or danger or thrills and I’m content to let them pass me by.

Sorry, I’m putting myself to sleep here. So I’m going to risk turning in now. I’ll get into bed and close my eyes and take a chance on waking up in the morning. I’ll also gamble that the house won’t burn down or blow up or fall over during the night. That’s about as adventurous as I care to get.

Goodnight. Sweet dreams. (Or horrific nightmares – life is one big crapshoot.)

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Ancestor Mystery

If you could speak to one family member who has passed on, who would you pick?
Why? What would you want to ask them?

My great great great grandmother, Margaret Scott (1782-1865) came to Canada from Ireland with her six children – John, William, Thomas, George, Eliza and Mary Ann.  Her husband died on the ship.

It’s her husband I’d like to talk to, because no one seems to be able to figure out exactly who he was.  Or if he even existed or was on the ship at all.  If we knew more about him we could trace the ancestors all the way back to who knows where.  Not too many people back then cared much about a womans origins, so there appears to be nothing else to be uncovered regarding Margaret.  And without a name for her husband and some dates there’s just dead ends.

Much easier to go forward from her son William to his son, Robert John, to his son, another William (my grandfather) to his daughter, my mother, another Margaret.  (If I’ve learned anything at all, it’s that our family liked to use the same names over and over again, kind of like the Royal Family, but infinitely more confusing because we never thought to add roman numerals to their names.)

Besides asking my great great great grandfather who he was and where he came from, I’d like to know how he died.  Maybe Margaret threw him overboard.  Although I can’t imagine how she thought she would survive on a different continent without a husband, raising six children on her own.  She lived to be 83, so perhaps she had a plan.

Next time I go to see a psychic (I actually saw one for the first time a couple of weeks ago! It was great fun!) I’ll try to remember to ask her about my great etc. etc. no-name grandpa.  Accuracy isn’t as important to me as a good story, so there’s an avenue to explore.  Maybe he’ll have so much to say I’ll be inspired to write it all down for posterity.  And then one of my descendants will have the fun of sorting through it all trying to separate fact from fiction.  Like it matters or something.

I’m Saving Up

Saving up my energy

For all the stuff I gotta save.

Time in a bottle.

Nickles and dimes, and pennies in a jar.

My breath, my bones, my bacon.

Zip files, work sheets,

Drafts, attachments, changes.

The day, the trees, some time.

My voice and my own skin.

Water, whales and dolphins,

The oceans and the daylight.

Rain forests in the Amazon.

Recipes in a box.

God Save the Queen

So I don’t have to.

Also Nemo, Private Ryan.

Save the Moon for Kerdy Dickus.

Save my marriage, save my life.

Save my soul and save the fallen.

Save me if I’m drowning.

I’ll save the best for last

And the questions for later

If you save the last dance for me.

Save your tears and prayers and wishes

For the times that really matter.

Saving face and saving grace.

Save this bleeding heart of mine.

Save the children

And your heart and your goodbyes.

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