Last weekend I had the pleasure of having a play date with my friend’s gorgeous seven month old son. He had just learnt to crawl so naturally, being the mature adult that I am, I spent the afternoon commando crawling around on the floor with him. Hey, it beats the hell out of walking. I can’t deny it was fun and yes, it made me feel like a kid again. At least it did until the next morning when I could barely move.
Eventually that got old, (for him not me) so I tried something else. Desperate to hold his attention, I began moving my fingers across the floor like a spider. He was mesmerised. I’m not sure whether it was the bright pink nail polish or the tap tap tap sound of my acrylic nails on the hard wood floor but either way he was fascinated. Then I noticed that his tiny hand, not even half the size of mine was trying to do it too. Wow, I had taught him something and it wasn’t even a swear word! He’s like a little sponge, so eager to soak up new experiences and knowledge.
Phoenix is a very lucky boy. He has two fabulous parents, wonderful grandparents and a huge number of aunties and uncles (actual and adopted) who are all very willing to help him navigate his way through life. Obviously, the hand thing wasn’t going to cut it. He couldn’t use that to solve a moral conundrum, could he?
I myself have been lucky enough to have lots of people I have looked up to in my 30 years of being. I have been given lots and LOTS of advice from many different people on many different subjects. Some things I have taken on board, while others have been politely discarded. But there are two bits of advice that have stayed with me and I would like to share them with Phoenix.
- Always keep your room tidy, you never know when the Queen might visit.
Every Wednesday in the last hour before “big lunch,” our year seven class would be taught by our primary school Principal Mr Daniel. To be honest I have absolutely no idea what it was he actually taught us but I do remember that when the bell rang for lunch he would make us all tidy up before we left the room. This, he told us, was in case the Queen decided to visit whilst we were out.
I still do this and it came in very handy many years later when I went blind.
I just wish the idea had caught on. Once, just after I had finally gained the confidence to move around the house on my own after becoming blind, I went into the bathroom to wash my face. I got a flannel from the drawer and placed it on the basin beside me, washed my face and dried it with the flannel I had gotten. Unfortunately for me said flannel had fallen onto the floor and as it made no sound, it went unnoticed. So, what I had actually dried my face with was a pair of my brother’s worn undies that had been left on the counter after his shower. He thought it was funny. I did not.
- If in doubt, don’t do it.
On the very first day of year nine our head of year, Mrs Mead, bestowed this advice to us all. She told us that if we kept this in mind when faced with a dilemma we would always be ok. It is a fairly versatile rule. It can be used on any situation from “should I eat another Easter egg even though I’ve already had 30?” to “I wonder if getting a tattoo is a good idea?” And thus far it has served me well.
Oh how I wish my friends would stop having cute babies. It’s making me clucky!