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The story of things fitting and not fitting

Friday 12 September 2008

Children love to see how much bigger they are getting. But they also inwardly know it can’t be rushed.

At the moment Marvin is looking at sixth form options and also considering his longer-term future. He’s generally positive and excited but also getting the collywobbles. I can remember that feeling!

At the same time, it has suddenly struck Tigger that one day big bruv is going to move out – and the way we’re all talking these days, it feels as if it that day will be upon us pretty soon. That leads him on to think about his own future, leaving home and so on, which for him is rather more distant chronologically than for Marvin but more significant for Tigger personally.

I remember Marvin about the same age declaring that he never wanted to leave, he’d live with me for ever and would always want that. Hard to convince him that people in their forties (or fifties, or sixties…) don’t feel the same way about living with their mum as they did when they hadn’t yet hit their teens. I used to point out that he’d hate to be in his buggy or high chair again, but while he was at the right stage for those they were fine; and that when he was buggy-sized, the thought of going on a bus to a secondary school half an hour’s journey away, being apart from me for nine hours a day – that what it is when i add it up! – would have struck him with terror and the knowledge that it was too much for him.

Now Tigger’s going through the same thing. At different ages we have different needs, but when you’ve only lived through a few ages it takes a lot of imagination and trust to see that. And the fear is real. The anxiety about coping, the sense of being “out there” and isolated, abandoned, combine with the knowledge, if they look at it straight, that it will in fact happen. Like the rest of us, children are most vulnerable to fear when they are trying not to face a fact because it feels too big to handle, or is simply unpleasant.

Anyway, i have written a rhyme intended as comfort for these worrying kids struggling with the weight of a world they don’t actually have to deal with yet! I hope it may reassure some parents too.  😉  (This is not my usual kind of thing but occasionally a piece of throwaway verse comes from somewhere.) Do let me know what you think of it. It’s written from the male point of view – can’t help that!

The story of things fitting and not fitting
(A baby starts this merry tale,
who’d sometimes smile and sometimes wail.)

I fed on milk both day and night.
I’d spit a bread crust from my tongue,
knowing I was much too young
for sandwiches – milk was just right.

But if you asked me now, today,
to try that mummy-milk again
the idea would meet with disdain;
I’d swiftly answer you: ‘No way!’

I used to wear my daddy’s shoes,
which made us laugh – I was too small
or they too big to fit at all
… but these days I would make the news

if I could fit my feet in those
I used to toddle in when first
I learnt to walk. I’d make them burst.
We live, we grow. We cannot choose.

I MINDED that I couldn’t do it,
climbing in the driver’s seat,
the pedals so far from my feet,
which now go to the floor – and through it!

The pegs were high! Then Dad was kind
and put one lower, so we each
had coats on pegs that we could reach
– a ‘downsizing’ I didn’t mind.

And, chatting, I found out that Mum
expected I would one day go
and live somewhere she didn’t know.
She said she KNEW the day would come!

She told me everyone will get
a home their mum and dad don’t share.
I didn’t listen, didn’t care!
I knew I wasn’t ready yet.

Yet I’ve done what she said I would.
– eat solids – cook them! – drive a car,
wear grown-up shoes … and I am far
from needing to live with Mum for good.

The best bit is that now I’M Dad!
I’ve seen you grow, and crawl then walk
and climb, and you began to talk
and now won’t stop! And I am glad.

At each age there’s a size to fit
whatever the need.
             And now – that’s it.

© mmSeason 2008

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