Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Marbles...

There are many times when looking after children that I marvel and wonder at my memories of growing up which come to mind. I am frequently reminded of how wonderful my mum is and just how incredible she was dealing with the constant issues of discipline as we were growing up. There are so many small things in the day to day business of caring for children that it would be so easy to let slip, and although the consequences would not be catastrophic, these things are still important. Like constantly reminding children to wash their hands after going to the toilet and saying please and thankyou when asking for things or when asked a question. Like teaching them not to speak with their mouth full and setting a good example yourself...

Then there are times when I wonder in sheer astonishment at the words and advice coming out of my own mouth. Times when I think, 'what on earth are you saying? what kind of awful advice are you giving to this child?' I had one of these moments yesterday when I was playing marbles with Toby, the 4 year old son of a family at church who I've had the pleasure of looking after for a couple of days this week. So, we were happily playing marbles, and I was relishing in my reminiscing of childhood fun playing this very game. I can still remember which were my favourite marbles, and the ones that I would never want to play with and were too beautiful to play with. Toby was just the same in that he had his favourites, but the difference was he would roll them out and then get sad when I won them. After losing one of his favourites to me for the umteenth time, he'd had enough of losing and burst into tears. Sometimes when children cry, it just makes me want to laugh because they look so funny. (Is that just me, because if so, I think I must be a pretty mean lady.) I was thinking, 'what do I do to stop him crying? we've been through the whole, 'it's only a game and they're only marbles so it doesn't really matter', and that line never works anyway, so why on earth do I carry on using it, and I've reasoned with him that he wins some of my pretty ones too so surely it's all fair, but that doesn't really sit with him..' and so these were the words that came out of my mouth...

Hannah: 'Toby, if the marbles could talk, what do you think they would say?'

Toby: crying lessens and he just looks at me, as if saying, ' I'm not going to say anything and give you some time to explain your way out of this ridiculous idea...'

Hannah: Now thinking, 'oh hannah, where are you going to go with this one?!' If the marbles could talk, I think they'd say, 'Toby don't cry, I'm only a marble and I don't mind if you lose me to Hannah because I'll still be with all of my other marble friends so won't be lonely.'

Toby: But marbles can't talk.

Hannah: thinking, 'what happened to using your imagination?!' I know they can't actually talk but we're just pretending...

By this point I think Toby was so fed up of my ridiculous talk that he had stopped crying and was ready to continue playing. Almost as soon as we started playing again, he lost his favourite marbles, and so the whining started again. It was at this point that I balked at my advice that followed...

Hannah: 'Toby, if losing your favourite marbles makes you sad, can I make a suggestion? Why don't you just keep hold of them rather than playing with them? Then you can't lose them and get upset.'

Basically I was advising him to be possessive over materialistic things to avoid being sad! What was I saying! Le's just hope he doesn't take it to heart...

Another funny conversation I had with children this week was when Grace, Will and I were walking back from school. Will needed the toilet so Grace suggested we run to get there quicker. Will said he couldn't run when he needed to go, and the conversation got on to why it is not good for you to wait for a long time when you really need the loo. I explained how it weakens your bladder muscles and they didn't quite understand. So I came up with an analogy of Will holding a big rock to explain it. He totally understood it, and I had to chuckle inwardly at how satisfying I had found the whole experience of explaining why our bladder muscles weaken!!! oh dear...

...hmmmm


1 comment:

PelleasAnthor said...

Hannah, you are a natural. The talking marble idea was brilliant!