Archive for ‘childhood’

December 7, 2012

my first fountain pen

27.02.2008

defining moments 11 missed out

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November 30, 2012

the best part of the week

defining moments 8

November 25, 2012

how to deal with figures before you can count

11.05.2009

November 25, 2012

how to play

110402 – watching A. play basketball in Casalecchio

Yesterday we were out of milk, and I asked A., nearly 6, to come and buy some with me. He had just opened one of those little juice boxes, so I thought I’d wait until he’d finished drinking. I distracted myself for a couple of minutes, and when I looked back to see if he’d finished, he a) hadn’t, and b) was playing with the juice box rather than drinking. I took a deep breath and suppressed my natural urge to bark at him to hurry up, and, instead, observed him.

A. announced he didn’t like the drink – “organic blueberry” – but that he liked sucking the droplets from the straw when he took it out of the box. I resisted grinding my teeth, contented myself with a martyred sigh and kept watching. He started pulling the straw out and sucking the juice from it; then he wanted to see what would happen if he put the straw back in up-side down with the short part in the box (it still worked) ; then he noticed that he’d put some kinks in the bendy part of the straw and wanted to see if he could get them out by pressing with his teeth (more or less). After about five minutes of this, he finally handed me the almost undrunk drink, saying he didn’t want it any more. I couldn’t resist muttering something about “wasteful!” but otherwise kept my hair on. I was impressed by how absorbed he’d been in his ‘messing around.’

Later. A.’s skateboarding process:

  1. Get auntie to carry skateboard downstairs.
  2. Pause to consider skateboarding across the flower-bed. Decide against.
  3. Complain that the skateboard keeps stopping and won’t go in the direction I want it to; when auntie points out all the cracks and pot-holes in the pavement, get auntie to carry skateboard until the next bit of smooth pavement.
  4. Wonder what kneeling on skateboard and pushing yourself along with your hands is like. Ignore auntie telling you to stand on it, or you’ll never learn.
  5. Scrape thumb painfully on tarmac. Ignore auntie telling you not to put thumb in mouth. Decide to try sticks. First stick breaks immediately.
  6. At the park the tarmac path slopes down. Find a bigger stick. Discover that the stick won’t slow down the skateboard without endangering fingers. Rolling off the path and onto the grass will. Also the tips of my shoes dragging on the ground will. Get auntie to carry skateboard back up hill. Again and again. Have not given up on sticks.
  7. Notice path through the grass, decide to try and skateboard across it. There are a lot of stones in the earth along the path. I must dig them out or I can’t get across. Where’s my stick? Oops, it broke. Here’s another bigger one. Scrape, scrape, poke, poke, there goes the first stone. This one’s big. Scrape, scrape, scrape…
  8. Here are some more good sticks. I’m a caveman. Look, I’m rubbing two sticks together to make a fire.

Lessons learned:

Shoes are better than sticks for steering and stopping.

You can ride down the hill with a friend if you’re both kneeling.

[NB. Interesting post here about playing and Aspergers]

November 23, 2012

the house mum grew up in

05.05.2008

November 15, 2012

points for effort

20.01.2008

November 13, 2012

true math trauma

20.01.2008 – How I learned about the law of diminishing returns

October 18, 2012

they’re nothing to do with me

29.07.2007

One of my sister T.’s memories about going holiday with the family was when they missed the overnight train from Milan to Paris. I wasn’t there, although it feels like my memory. My mother and four children, including 3 small ones, were waiting on a train platform late at night to catch another night train to Paris. They wouldn’t have had couchettes to look forward to, or even booked places, they wouldn’t have had any food or water, or anything that would offer any comfort, since mum would have been in charge of packing. There would have been luggage all over the place, and no obvious way of transporting so much with so many small children. At least one of the small children would have been crying. They would all have looked scruffy. Not dirty exactly, but unkempt. T remembers a man looking askance at them all and remarking to his companion “I hope I’m not expected to travel with that bunch of gypsies.” T remembers stepping away from the family, not wishing to be associated. I wonder how old she would have been – 16?

October 18, 2012

a tendency to overgeneralise

19.10.2007

I’ve always hated board games, most of them anyway, like monopoly. I don’t mind the pure chance ones, like Ludo, which allow me to be totally fatalistic, but games like monopoly which require decisions and strategy as well as luck just made me feel like a stupid loser. I don’t know how much I believe in self-determination, if that’s the right word: I’ll never forget when I was 12 or 13 deciding that I was going to get a handle on Maths, that if I just studied enough I’d be able to do ok and pass my tests. I based my conclusion on a sample of one test, which I studied for and did more abysmally than usual on, that there is no cause and effect, things are totally random and I might just as well give myself up to my fate, and I was fated to be crap at Maths. Look how I still write it with a capital letter.

October 17, 2012

a girl called Blessing

London, August 2011. I meet Blessing (real name), who’s about 8, in the playground that T.’s flat overlooks. She’s pretty, plump, has lots of beaded braids, wears pink with butterfly motifs. She’s chasing around the car-park after a large fluffywhite seed, like the ones from a dandelion clock, and when she catches it, she gives it to T., saying, “This is for you, it’s a wish, don’t lose it, keep it safe!” T. puts it in her pocket. Blessing catches one for me too, and it’s at the pocket of my moleskine notebook, should I ever need it.