Tuesday, 27 March 2012

As if he could never let it go


I think in the US you say “movie” for the thing that many of us in the UK would call a “film”.  In the UK we are so acculturated to US usage that everyone knows what a movie is (just as we are familiar with “stroller” and “sidewalk”).  But I find US friends usually haven’t had the chance to get to know UK English, and so can become bewildered if I talk about a pushchair or a pavement.  So in what follows, just in case it’s an unfamiliar term to you, “film” = “movie”.

Last Saturday the Wretched Wretch and his mummy came to our house to see a film.  At home he has the Disney Robin Hood, which is a great favourite, so I thought it might be time to start enjoying the Disney film of The Jungle Book.  In watching it, incidentally, I noticed that Disney have appropriated the title, crediting Rudyard Kipling’s “Mowgli Stories” as the inspiration for Disney’s “Jungle Book”.  Since Rudyard Kipling’s book was in fact called “The Jungle Book”, I feel that Disney have done something there that if anyone else had done it to they them would have sued them to hell and back – but, hey: that’s big corporation ethics for you. They do at least give a partial glimpse of Kipling's name flicking by on the title page of the book in the opening sequence.

So we got three bags of the right kind of popcorn – we know it was, because it said CINEMA POPCORN on the bag  and invited the Wretched Wretch over at a convenient slot when it wasn’t nap time, closed the curtains to make the front room a cinema, and enjoyed our film together as if we were the happiest people on earth.

And after that we had fun in the garden and got the sandpit out of its winter hiding place, and generally dug things up and scattered things around, and finished off the day with a bath in the kitchen sink.  Then the Wretched Wretch’s mummy reassembled him in his street clothes, which included a sunhat, sunglasses and wellies (gumboots), and it was time to go.

At some point we discussed what to do with the film.  There is some virtue in having a few things at our place that the Wretched Wretch can look forward to knowing will be there – his train set, the box of cars, the Cuisenaire rods, the Schleich animals etc – but some things like films and books a child often likes to see/read again and again, not have to wait.

So we asked him, and he nodded eagerly and said yes please, he’d like the film.  And when I gave it to him, he took it in a particular way that I recognise but find it hard to put into words.  With an enthusiasm that yet had a beat of pause in it, not for hesitation but for reverence – like this was something he really wanted.  And he took it in his hands but drew it close to his heart, as if he couldn’t bear to let it go.

In similar wise, there was a moment when he was taking his bath in the kitchen sink.  On his towel spread on the adjacent counter for some reason there was a big glass of water, and he thought he’d like to pour the water from it into his own little green plastic cup with the reindeer on that he had in the sink to play with.  He did it really carefully, putting the cup down and holding the glass with both hands just the way I showed him to do, but his hands were wet and the glass was heavy and slippery, and it almost slipped from his grasp. And I saw from his face how worried and aghast he was that he nearly let it drop – he understood the responsibility of being allowed to handle breakable things even though he is not yet three.

When I catch sight of these moments – how much things matter to a child, how deeply a child feels, how important everything is to him, it enters my heart in a way that is quite painful and unforgettable.

And I wonder how often a child (not this one!!) has been shouted at or scolded for something that went wrong despite the best efforts of a little one, or had something precious snatched away as unsuitable or not for him.

The responsibilities of caring for small children are terrifying, really.  Especially that of trying to stand between them and the hardship of being misunderstood, the adversities of learning.

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365 366 Day 87 – Tuesday March 27th  
  (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, see here)  

    

 Aha!  This was a freebie from a lovely hotel where the Badger and I stayed while visiting his family in Penzance.  I never wear a shower-cap, I just wash my hair, but I knew that at home I had a pack of henna powder waiting to be passed on to Buzz for the next time she redded up her hair :0)  so when I spotted the shower I thought “I know who needs that!  I’ll ’ave that*”.  I had it hanging around at home for a long time while I forgot to give it to her.  So today’s item is from the “I really must get round to that” pile.  The 365 project prompted me to actually do it.

*”I’’ll ’ave that”: my family will recognise that as a quotation from Burglar Bill, a most excellent book! 

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Pleased and amused to see the Burglar Bill quotation - much used in my family too!
BN

Bean said...

Grandchildren, aren't they the most wonderful thing in the world!

My little grandsons really enjoyed The Jungle Book when we borrowed it from the library early this year.

Enjoy,

Bean

Ember said...

:0) Hi ladies! xx

Julie B. said...

I know exactly what you're talking about. I see the same things in my own grandchildren. It is wondrous and deeply painful at the same time. xx

Ember said...

:0) x

Buzzfloyd said...

One thing the Wretched Wretch has had from a young age is more freedom than some children have, but accompanied by his worried mother saying, "Careful! Careful! Careful!"

I felt a bit sad the day when he wasn't quite two when I heard him going downstairs, saying to himself, "Careful! Careful! Careful!"

Ember said...

I know what you mean - but stairs are dangerous - you taught him to keep himself safe. What a gift.