Wednesday 15 February 2006

Bringing up baby, badly

I will be looking after Grandbaby for 2 days a week from mid-April as her mama has a part-time job for a few months. I look forward to teaching her all sorts of naughtiness, which I think is my job as Irresponsible Adult. My own children were babysat by Hilda who taught them all the slightly antisocial tricks she knew.

For example, poohsticks. Not the dropping sticks in the water from a bridge invented by Christopher Robin. More literally (rather than literarily), stirring a cowpat with a stick then poking that through the church railings, sticking out on to the footpath so as to besmirch an unwary pedestrian.
Pungey cakes. This was a mixture of seeds and berries, plus anything slightly unsavoury they could find, mixed with flour and baked, to be offered to Granny as a teatime treat. She knew better than to accept (Hilda had been her own children's nursemaid; my husband and his siblings). I only discovered recently that my daughter's variation on this (when old enough to know better) had been to mix up convincing-looking dogpoo which she then left in artistically arranged dollops in a neighbour's drive so they would think their own dog had misbehaved. I was not at all pleased when she admitted this - well, I say admitted but I think she was quite proud of herself.

My own ideas of having fun did not affect others, but consisted of encouraging them to get wet and messy. Bodypainting for example, which was the same as finger painting except that they could dip any part of themselves in the paint and then sit/roll/smear themselves on the paper. Mudpies, natch. And there was the time I looked out of the window to see my children in the pouring rain by a flooded drain. They had taken off their wellies, filled them from the huge puddle and were taking it in turns to pour the dirty water over each other. I should have hurried out, grumbling and hustled them in to hot baths. But, well, they were having such a good time. And how often did they play together happily. I made sure there was hot chocolate and cakes ready for when they came in. Sentimental mummy. Long time ago now though

I've been fairly messy today, Dave and I have been clearing out the bier shed. Nothing to do with a brewery, it's a church thing. The bier itself, which hasn't been used for years, has been stored in the boiler shed and after the cobwebs, spiders and a hibernating hedgehog had been cleared out, the bier shed has been filled with Useful Stuff. I felt bad about the hedgehog, who didn't wake up (I hope he made it through the winter) has been made a nice little nest, in the corner of two walls, on a bed of pine needles and covered with more of them, and with a covering of footstones (like headstones, but smaller).

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