Out of the Games Cupboard

A random assortment of reflections, musings and a running commentary on life.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Milestones & Transitions

It is a great pleasure watching Ellie grow, learn and try to make sense of the world around her. She is a bright, confident, curious and happy child. Of late I've been particularly struck by how well she verbally expresses herself. When younger, she would sometimes get frustrated if we did not understand what she was trying to tell us; now she tries different words and ideas if we don't get it. That said, we increasingly do get it - her saying "I want the song that makes my heart sing" was soon correctly interpreted as a request to listen to 'Wild Thing' by The Troggs!

On reflection, much of what I read to prepare me for impending fatherhood focussed on "milestones". This makes sense as these are the one-off, life-changing moments that most fledgling humans need to go through at some time or another; first steps, first word, first solid food etc. But, once they've done them, there over with. They are really a way of checking your child is developing 'normally'. Subsequently, they are really a way of reassuring sleep-deprived parents that it's all worth it!

Now, I read a fair bit in anticipation of Ellie's arrival - not as much as I meant to, I admit, but more than I think I needed. But I don't remember life's transitions getting much print area.

I've realised in recent months that Ellie has changed in subtle ways and I don't have a clue when the changes happened: she now uses grown-up cutlery, she chooses her own clothes, she requests to go to bed when she's tired, she dresses herself, she goes to the toilet by herself, she uses scissors and glue without assistance, she requests playing certain games, she problem-solves, she makes up stories, she describes her dreams (so beautiful!), she swims properly etc etc etc.....

I would say that these transitions and changes are far more enjoyable for me than the milestones were. They show less of how 'normal' she is and more of what a 'person' she is and how she is constantly changing. So I would say to any potential parents not to be too sad if they miss being around for a milestone - the transitions, which happen all the time, they won't miss. They won't spot them whilst they're happening, but you can certainly notice the difference.....

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

sad news...

Do you find that sometimes news articles just make you despair? The scale of man's inhumanity to man often seems limitless. Reading this article had this affect upon me.

The burning of witches is nothing new of course. But it's not something you expect to read about in our modern, enlightened world. I found it particularly poignant/harrowing as Lisa and I support Plan UK and are linked to a girl living in Kenya. She lives in the east of the country and so, hopefully, has avoided this event. However, the area in which she lives was a recognised 'hotspot' during the recent unrest.

When we receive her letters, they tell of the life of a child, much as Ellie would describe. Her living conditions are basic; she has to walk to collect water and has to travel some distance to go to school. She had malaria when younger which nearly killed her. She and her brother live with her grandparents as her parents work in Nairobi. Her life is undoubtedly somewhat harder than Ellie's and yet, she describes the pleasure of going to school, of singing, of playing with her friends, of being with her family. She loves drawing and the pictures we've received show a child's view of perspective and the world around her - they are magically innocent.

Our experience of writing to her and, even more, of her replies has made me realise how similar people are; in every culture children are loved; children the world over love to sing, dance, play and make sense of their world. For their parents putting food on the table and having water to drink are universal needs. So I was unprepared for the barbarity, prejudice and sheer medievalness of this act. If I was racist I could think that "they" don't know any better. However, I am NOT a racist and I know that ALL humans know better. Fear, mistrust, superstition and the mentality of a mob may explain this atrocity, but nothing can justify it. We cannot radically alter the world that she and Ellie grow up in but I hope that the way they see the world grows with them.

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I'm back in the land of blogging

You may have noticed that I have not updated the Games Cupboard for sometime - about six months in fact! I don't know why this happened; I left it for awhile and so the habit of writing waned - it then semed a monumental task to return. However, I find I have been missing blogging of late and so, here I am.

Sadly, there's not much news. I'm still experiencing some neurological problems and so I'm still a stay-at-home dad. I'm enjoying this and making the most of it as Ellie starts school next January (where have the years gone?). Lisa continues to work hard and is striving to get her head around an increase in her repsonsibility and accountability. We both still enjoy boardgames....

I don't know how often I'll be posting but, hopefully more than every six months! Please feel free to leave comments if the mood takes you.

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