Sunday, 28 October 2012

Scared of the dark? Well, maybe just a little bit...

Upper image: Jolly Pumpkin (from a photocopied sheet). Lower image: Friendly Ghost (drawn by my son).
Now I'd never really liked Hallowe'en: I was rather a timid child with absolutely no desire to go into all that scary stuff, Things that went bump in the night and so on. Thinking about it now, though, I do wonder about this, because I used to love folk tales, ancient myths and legends, the bloodier and more magic-soaked the better - Greek, Norse, Irish, English, Welsh, and anything else I could find - with their glimpses of different, alien worlds and ideas.

My problem with Hallowe'en was, basically, that it was so very ugly: if you were a girl you would probably end up as a skinny, warty witch with missing teeth and birds-nest hair. As a whole, the concept did not seem to have much to recommend it from the point of view of a skinny, gap-toothed kid who had veruccas from the swimming-pool and hair that would never behave itself, no matter what you did with it.

But now? I see my four-year-old son and his need to tell stories through play on topics which puzzle him, things he needs to figure out in his head. Often these are the dark things that grown-ups don't like to talk about, like violence and death. So it's not at all contradictory that my son is scared of the dark, but that he loves Hallowe'en. He is mightily puzzled by death, and he loves ghosts. He particularly likes friendly ghosts (see his drawing, above - isn't it great?).

I now understand that we all sometimes need space to tell our stories about the scary stuff, to be able to look the Thing that goes bump in the night straight in the eyes and say F*** YOU.

And my hair still will not behave itself, no matter what I do with it.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

In Which We Discover That Tiggers Do Not Like Carrots

So, my son's class at school has done this amazing thing and helped to sponsor a Bengal tiger in Nepal.

In return, they were sent a small cuddly tiger, and so the children are taking it in turns to take Little Kamrita home with them for the weekend. We had the honour of being the very first family to host Little Kamrita, so we decided to take her to the museum so we could help her learn all about different sorts of animals (they have a whole floor dedicated to natural history - fantastic!).

Rather happily, the natural history floor also happens to house the museum cafe. Because Little Kamrita was our special guest, we treated her to a cafe-latte and a slice of the cafe's excellent carrot cake. Although then "we had to eat it for her because her teeth were rather new..."

Here is Kamrita saying with regal hauteur: "Carrots? Carrots? We are a tiger!" Sorry, ma'am.