Laws of Physics Kirby

Hosted by “Tracy” at “Mother May I,” but the photo-picture below will whizz you right there with one click.


red BSM Button

Today I have to spotlight my daughter, a tiny icon. You may remember that we had a “breakthrough” around here when my son decided that he both could and would draw, freely. It was pretty momentus for us.

His birthday was just around the corner and we take presents pretty seriously. We both favour the hand made kind of gift, the ones that take very little money but do require a great deal of thinking time and effort.

So this is a magical feat of artistry to me. He drew the pictures and his big sister transferred the images to the computer, coloured them in and then transferred them onto a t-shirt.

The gift was a hit. He was both mystified and delighted. that was the real gift, the gift to the giver. It may seem a little odd but it is all too familiar territory. We adults agonise over what to give, the right match, something that will give pleasure but 99% of the time, we fail.

It has been a long and tortuous path.

Initially if was basic. Either one of them would be absorbed in one of their favourite activities when a present intruded upon the scene. The present, whatever it was, would hold no interest, merely an unwelcome interruption. When whatever it was, when unwrapped, would still be of no interest, even if it fell into the category of their interests. The terms novelty and new, which are commonly attractive, were not so here.

In the beginning there were no words available which meant that we parents were quite at a loss to know what exactly had gone wrong. Over stimulated, over excited, wrong present? We guessed. We had no idea.

Later there were words, in-between the meltdowns, but they didn’t help much either. We learned that big present opening sessions were guaranteed to disappoint everyone. Far better to work on one gift at a time, over a long period of time. Opening presents became a finely orchestrated production. The key to peace was the ability to peek inside their skulls to see what it was that they saw and expected to receive. We lacked that ability. The disappointments and hurt feelings of all parties sapped energy. All we could do was to work upon their expectations, to accept less than perfect, lessen their investment in the unknowable outcome and sow many seeds in advance.

It’s not just the big occasions like birthdays, but the little casual occasions.

Americans are a generous race. There appears to be no occasion to small to exclude a gift for children; the dinner party, the visit, the play-date, they all include a little gem of ‘I picked this up, I thought you’d like it,’ words guaranteed to induce doom. Many a parent will pick up some candy on the way home from a trip or an errand. Something catches the eye. A reward for good behaviour whilst with a baby sitter, or merely the other parent. Guilt for time off, bribery or a swell of joy to share. It doesn’t matter what the motivation is, nor what the gift might be, they all result in misery.

People have a hard time understanding.

Children and presents seem a perfect match. A kid in a candy store or a toy shop. But not these children. If these children go to a toy store, assuming you can get them into the store in the first place, they may find one thing that they find attractive. It is probably something that they already have, something from their very narrow category of current interest[s]. It is far more common to find that there is no ‘one thing’ that they find attractive, unless you count the price stickers and the electric door.

No so long back, my eldest daughter had been away in Mozambique for a long time. On her return she brought gifts, tiny, local delightful, well chosen gifts, but it was crowded. She was out of practice but well intentioned. She took him aside for a special one on one session. She was so sure she had a match. She could cope, it would be fine, he would love it, they would connect after her absence. Joint attention, no pressure, in the zone. How could he resist? Every child would be at least intrigued. I watched her billowing confidence. Maybe this time? Don’t use the word present! Why not later when there are less people, less noise, less busyness. She was a cheerleader of presentation with simple language at his height, un-intimidating. He screamed as he hurled it across the room and lunged to the floor. The room went silent as everyone turned to take in the scene, the long lost sister and the spoilt little brother. Murmours of ‘jet lag’ whispered through the room as tears of abject disappointment spurted from both of them.

I could write on this one topic for hours, each little step, each moderated accommodation to bring the boys to where they are now, but I’ll leave it for now. I prefer to bask in the pleasure of witnessing my daughter’s first ever success, after a decade of trying she hit the right note, a harmonic tone that resonates between all of us.

So if you ever receive an invitation that includes the phrase ‘please, no gifts,’ try and be cruel to be kind.



Bookmark and Share

Christmas Meme 22nd

“Ashley” over at “Hidden Recovery” has tagged me with a Christmas meme, which is a trifle tragic since this is the 22nd today and I’m almost out of time – eek!

I shall endeavour to do my best as Ashley and I share a common phenomenon, a Leo, both lovely ones, although she is far more biased than I am of course. is one of the first few blogs that I was brave enough to comment upon and we have corresponded off and on ever since.

Best Childhood Gift

The same things that my mother carefully ensured were in each of our stockings each year:- four little squares of chocolate wrapped in shiny paper and tied together like a package, a shiny foiled, tightly furled umbrella of chocolate, a little yellow netting cache of chocolate pennies and a tangerine in the toe.

Best Adult Gift

Yes, it’s a thrupenny piece. This used to be my pocket money when I was a small person. My older sister had a silver sixpence, twice the value, much more shiny but not anything like as delightful as the solid thrupenny piece. The Port Cullis emblazoned upon the front and the funny smell that it left on my grubby, sweaty little palms was a real treasure. What was particularly treasured by this gift, was that my eldest daughter managed to find one for me, long after they had been withdrawn from circulation circa 1971 and gave it to me with a twinkle in her eye. 30 years after the event, I found that not only had she remembers this little tale of childhood innocent but also her the wherewithall and stamina to seek one out, just to warm the cockles of my ancient, crusty heart.

Divorced single mother’s often enjoy a close relationship with the children. In that respect I was exceptionally lucky, as illustrated by my second most popular gift that I received whilst I was an adult, also from my daughter but at a slightly earlier age.

Tucked away in the ruins of my tatty old jewelry box is another little treasure. During my youthful and rebellious period I wore copious lurid earrings. This fine pair of hand crafted Fimo ear-rings were give to me by my creative daughter. The watch allows you to admire their extreme length with I wore with pride as I stabbed my shoulders with every shrug of admiration.

What You Hope For In The Future

More of the same, the little things, that mean the most.

So I now tag

“Cal Slayton”
over at “Calslayton” as his talent just shines through but he’s not very forthcoming on the personal front. We all need a little encouragement in the sharing department sometimes.

Then there are the delightful “Brewers” over at “And Miles to Go” – they really are going for the record as they track up the miles on their way ‘home’ for the holidays. A real family of marathon runners if ever, I’ll be bound. I know they have a tonne of stuff to do but this is such a little memme that I don’t feel too guilty passing it on.

Next up is “One March Day” although she has a tendency to be cryptic the variety or her posts always keep me guessing.

A great little spot for when you’re feeling homesick for England is to visit “Dulwichmum,” it’s guaranteed to make me both regret that I’m in the States and rejoice that I’m in the States at the same time, but maybe that’s just because we share a similarly warped sense of humour.

A new pal for me is “Mrs. G” over at “Derfwadmanor.” If I didn’t know better I would swear this woman is a Brit with her dry teasing humour. As often as not the giggles are for free.

If you’re in need of a little eye candy [ not the rude kind] then I would recommend a visit to “David Mcmahon” over at “author Blog” where his fabulous photographs inspire me to remove the batteries from my digital camera and chuck it in the bin in defeat.

Another place to visit daily is “Crystal Jigsaw” but that is because I am biased towards bloggers who post daily, as I’m a stickler for routine and there’s nothing more annoying than arriving at a blog that still has the old posting that you read several weeks ago – the nerve of some people!

You could do a lot worse than nip over to “Terri” and “Her4kids” to admire her expanding family with the cutest puppies in the world ever, and no, even if you ask her very nicely she won’t mail one to you – are you trying to get her reported to the Humane Society or something?

“Melinda” over “Dear Noah” who write the most heartfelt letters to her son, take a peek and bask in all that love.

I expect you are all wondering who is the most prolific blogger on the blogosphere? A question that haunts me daily too! I am here to assure you that despite my best psychological endeavours, devious and cunning questions, I have been unable to unearth the troop of elves that help “Secret Agent Mama” with her prodigious output.

I can also highly recommend “Why Would I Sleep” which I’m sure will hit just the right note with far too many of us.

I am guilt free as I tag these people because it can either be as short and sweet or as lengthy as time allows.

When I have caught up with the other 27 outstanding memes, I plan to make one of my own. This will consist of a lengthy list of blogs that I visit who I will henceforward be boycotting because of their teeny tiny font size, or at least I would boycott them if it weren’t for the seductive content.

Cheers dearies.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Bookmark and Share