Legends from our own lunchtimes

Thursday, July 17, 2008


If there were only mothers in the world, children wouldn't be allowed to fall.

Our kids learned to climb on monkey bars, to slide down slippery slides, and even to ride bicycles down hills in spite of the constant watching and urging to "be careful".

It was all so tedious and unadventurous really, but I really didn't understand the depth to which this genetic predisposition to the long term protection of our species ran, until the first week of our first absolutely without child holiday.

All of ours had grown beyond the point of needing intensive care, apart from the odd "are you keeping warm enough" over the telephone, it seemed they were finally well and truly in command of their own respective parts of the world.

There we were, reaping our reward, on a nice quiet piece of river with a tree-lined grassy bank sloping into a sandy beach.

We set up our chairs in the shade and had barely begun to settle into a quiet afternoon of reading, when it was brought to my attention that the small children nearby, were playing too close to the water, or were climbing too high in the tree, or perhaps the little one will get knocked over by the big boy with the ball.

"Shouldn't we stop that girl from getting her dress wet?"


"Ooh I think that branch is going to break."


"What if someone gets hurt?"

"It's parent will take it to the hospital or the morgue."

Instead of celebrating the potential of the earth's population stabilising for a short while, she seemed to be fighting to retain a gene pool that was already bent on destroying itself. We had to leave.

I was reminded of that episode earlier this week, when we took the grandboy on an excursion to a playground near his place.

He was locked in to a swing. She was gently rocking it backwards and forwards as if it contained some precious cargo.

Not being yet of an age where sentence construction is high on his list of importance, falling somewhere well below food, drink, sleep and cuddle, for a time he rocked patiently, looking pleadingly at her and gently repeating himself:

"two. two. two"

Becoming frustrated, the softness left his voice:


Still she rocked, perhaps hoping to lull him into a deep slumber, unable to decipher what it was that so occupied the mathematical part of his brain.

It took the grandfather to translate.

Gently lifting the swing to about waste height, he whispered;


As the swing raised to chest height, together they called "TWOOO"

With a push and a laugh, the swing flew half way to the moon;


She couldn't watch.



Anonymous said...

I knew the ending and it still made me laugh.

Anonymous said...

I Think it's a gene that switches on once you've had a child, I'm still happy to watch other peoples children fall... and worked out what two two two meant ages ago!!

Anonymous said...

i just love this photo - makes me smile whenever i pass by your blog :)
Must be the mother in me that wants to run over and give him a cuddle :)

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