From the mouths of babes

April 1, 2013

Our middle child was quite a girlie girl. Not to complete excess like some, but liked dolls, dressing up in sparkly clothes and high heels, played with Barbies, worshipped the Spice Girls and loved everything about food. One of the activities she enjoyed when she was little was doing ballet. We didn’t go to the formal, proper ballet school, but to one walking distance down the road run by the loveliest, gentlest teacher the world has ever known. The class were aged about 4 and there was a lot of skipping in circles (skipping being something that has to be taught). The teacher was one of those that makes every child feel brilliant and special. Middle daughter loved it.
kill kill kill 003

kill kill kill 004

copying her older cousin

Then they decided to put on a show. Peter and the Wolf. The story of a young boy, Peter, whose grandfather warns him not to go in to the woods but he does. He watches as the wolf eats the duck and circles the tree where another bird and a cat are hiding. Peter manages to lassoo the wolf by getting the bird to distract it and then the hunters come with their guns and they take the wolf away. All to beautiful Prokofiev music.

wearing her favourite boots too

wearing her favourite boots too

Our daughter was a bird. The teacher made incredibly simple but effective costumes, all dyed different colours. She wore a tutu/ballet skirt and had wings sewn on to a teeshirt and looped around her wrists so that they flapped as she waved her arms. She was never waif-like and tended to wear her ballet outfits with her red leather boots rather than ballet shoes, but she looked absolutely adorable with these turquoise wings. They had rehearsed for weeks and weeks and parents were invited to see the final lesson of term where the ballet would be performed.
We arrived at the nursery school where the lessons took place. It was a private nursery rather than the state one down the road that our children went to and the audience reflected the nature of the nursery’s usual clientele.
Our other daughter in contrast to her older sister was completely besotted by her older brother and wanted to be him. She would wear his clothes, follow him round, do everything he asked her. He would invent the fantasy games they would play for hours together. She called herself mini-Michael and had no real interest in ballet. However, we all went to the show – probably the first family outing to see one of them perform.
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youngest relaxing in brother’s rugby shirt and shorts

We sat in rows with all the middle class Mums (few Dads that I recall) and their other children all dressed in OshKosh and playing with Polly Pockets as we waited for the show to begin.
The music started and siblings squeaked – ” Mummy look, there’s Charlottte” or Lavinia, or somesuch. All was going swimmingly well. Everyone so nice and tickety boo. Then the hunter appeared with his rifle cut out from cardboard and our youngest, aged about 18 months and who was standing on my lap at the time, shouted at the top of her voice “Kill, kill, kill!”. I was mortified. Everyone looked around in horror. I wanted the ground to open up. But our youngest was entirely oblivious to the reaction she’d generated and still completely engrossed in the performance in front of us.
All those hours playing fantasy games with her brother hadn’t been wasted.


2 Responses to “From the mouths of babes”

  1. georgiemcclarke Says:

    Love the photos that accompany this! So funny how you can raise children exactly the same and they can be so different. That Peter and the Wolf show was so good. Remember the cat costumes too? We used them in dressing up for years!

    • Had a great time trawling the albums for them. Couldn’t find the one of Nat in Michael’s mustard coloured waistcoat and school shorts though. She loved that outfit, bless. Was the cats the same show? I can see the value of keeping a diary now! This is my susbstitute but at least when I’m gone you’ll have some moments of my memory to look back on!

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