Nativity, it’s the month when parents, grandparents and carers get the chance to see their little loved ones sing and do their best to say words they have been practicing for weeks.
For us, it was our son’s last nativity at pre-school. He was a Roman soldier. My husband asked if he needed a sword and my daughter said: “He’s counting the folk not killing them!”
When we arrived the other soldier had a sword and the teacher had to occasionally swipe it away as she was helping the children with their lines.
My son was acting like a teenager, with his spiked up hair he pulled faces all the way through, barely said his lines and didn’t sing one word.
Then after it was all over he ate a mince pie and then larked around with the three wise men, playing with cardboard crowns and lots of running around in circles. The adults meanwhile drank mulled wine and listened to the results of the raffle.
When my son went to bed, he then sang all the songs perfectly before drifting off to sleep…..typical!
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We have just enjoyed a version of Aladdin at my daughter’s school ‘Aladdin in Trouble’. It went on for 1 hour and 20 minutes and while it was lovely to watch it did go on for a tad too long. It seems like 2 hours when you have a toddler fidgety and grumpy on your lap because it is way past their bedtime. Like most primary schools, the school hall cannot accommodate all the year groups and parents, so a lot of the children have to stand either side of the stage and get up and down every time the chorus of another song starts without the opportunity to get on centre stage. For those that have tall children you can at least see them in-between each stage performance but for most of the time you are craning your neck to catch a glimpse of your little one.
But the enjoyment comes from seeing all the little ones and seeing how they have grown and flourished since pre-school. Now they are nearly 9 you get o catch a glimpse of the future teenager and young adult in them too. Then you look around at all the parents who are on the same fascinating journey as you and wonder are they thinking the same thing.
And when the applause comes at the end it is for a mutual appreciation of every child’s performance and what more lies ahead. There is so much to look forward to, whatever the ups and downs.
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Today my baby boy, just turned three, played the part of Joseph in his pre-school nativity. Prior to his performance, my Mum took us all put to our local pub for lunch and he ate half his bodyweight in chocolate ice-cream. We were all treading round him on eggshells today, keen not to upset him or over-tire him so that he would be on good form.
He was all willing to dress up as Joseph and then when the pre-school leader, affectionately known as ‘Auntie Carol’, took him down to the stage were all his other ‘tiny friends’ were, he freaked out. So I followed him down the aisle to the stage and tucked myself behind his little chair to calm him down (and swapped his toy sheep that went with his Shepherd’s outfit, for his comforter toy ‘Monkey’). Throughout the performance he sat patiently next to Mary and calmed down enough that I could leave his side. He said all four lines with a little help and was happy to stand in front of everyone o say them (while clutching monkey).
When it was time for him to walk with Mary down the aisle, he was happy to hold her hand and walk through the audience (while Auntie Carol held monkey). But later on in the play when they were all singing he just suddenly started to cry, so I hopped up and sat with him again, but as I sat down I knocked the Joseph and Mary pictures on the wall off, so had to keep putting them back up.
Afterwards there were pictures, and baby boy was still intermittently crying, which didn’t help with the publicity photos, but when it was all over and he had the freedom to play with his girlfriend Sam, he was grinning from ear to ear and we all breathed a sigh of relief that he hadnt been mentally scarred by the experience and had managed to keep the show on the road.
Our 3 year old did good.
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Every now and then I decide to have complete memory failure over my previous baking and cooking attempts and embark on a new chapter in my home-baking career.
These attempts are normally assisted by Tana Ramsay whose book on family cooking seems to understand the need for Mums to freeze things and prepare stuff in advance to reduce cooking time.
She also understands that every once in a while us Mums need me time, and highlights the benefits of kneading dough, to exorcise the frustrations of life and build up a bit of upper arm strength at the same time.
So, I decided to make my own dough and I was surprised how satisfying a process it was to create a dough and the bake it into ‘danish pastry pizzas’. It was particularly surprising to find that they were edible.
Today had a couple of other surprises in store….
I had the chance to go riding this morning (I dont have the money to own a horse I hasten to add, I just bum free rides when owners need their gee gees exercised…..in the boom time I used to get paid for it).
I encountered a ‘bridleway closed’ sign. It wasnt on a big red road sign but there was a diversion (smack bang in the middle of nowhere). I followed the diversion and came across a muddy bit which we ploughed on through until my horse’s rear legs appeared to give way. He had been sucked into a vat of clay. He is 17.2hh so for him to slip like that is highly unusual. By the time he recovered we had clay everywhere even up on his cheek and by his ear.
I later went to collect my baby boy from pre-school and discovered that at the tender age of 3 he had been chosen to play Joseph in the nativity (mainly because he is like a parrot and will repeat everything you say – none of the other boys in the pre-school were that interested in saying the lines). So he now has his first script to learn. My daughter was Mary when she was at the pre-school,so she is thrilled that he is following in her footsteps.
When we picked her up from school and told her, she immediately launched into rehearsals and asked baby boy to repeat ‘Is there any room at the Inn?’
Think perhaps he should be the innkeeper.
This blog is for Unicef.
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I suffered a severe attack of pushy mum syndrome earlier. I am not overly enamored with the class teacher this year. She seems to be a bit stifling – a bit of a jobsworth – looking for the negative rather than the positive (if her comments on my daughter’s homework are anything to go by). I need to realise that teachers are not there to look for the positive they need to pick out what is wrong and what can be improved on. But what pees me off the most is that the homework is written for the parents not the children – so it is up to us to translate what the teacher wants. This is particularly annoying when you translate it in a way the teacher didn’t want. My daughter is nearly seven and I think that the homework set should be written for the children to understand the instructions – not the parents. We should be there to support them but essentially they should be able to read the homework and know what the teacher is asking them to do.
Because my daughter was struggling to grasp the concept (it took me a while too – the teacher would not get an award from the plain English campaign) I started to slip into imagining this scenario of a crowded class with not enough teachers to cater for the needs of the class and my daughter somewhere at the back of the class gazing out of the window completely disengaged. Silly I know but I seem to be all too ready to default to that scenario the minute my daughter shows signs she is struggling. I don’t like being like this……the worse is yet to come in my paranoid parent behaviour……….(here it comes)
There was a note in my daughter’s school book bag about the christmas nativity – it said something along the lines of “If your child has a speaking part please help them to learn the lines. If your child does not have a script then they will have a dance or performance part and will learn their character in rehearsals”. I was disappointed. My daughter didn’t have a speaking part. She was completely oblivious to this and not bothered at all. I was hoping that as her class would be the eldest in the infant nativity that she would get a speaking part – I HATE that I think like this – I am nothing better than a pushy mother in a sulk. “Right that’s it we are changing schools!” (OK I was half joking) My daughter said, “no I like my school and I like my teacher”. “But when I am in Juniors (she said) I will be able to audition for a part” I couldn’t believe she was trying to placate my feelings by explaining in her own way that she will have a chance next year. It was almost as if she was reading my mind, “I pay all this money on theatre school and you don’t get a speaking part in the nativity”. If I am honest that is what I was thinking. SAD isn’t it?
As parents, the tricky part is working out when you need to step in an intervene and when you need to back the hell off.
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