Monday, 25 October 2010

The coolest thank you note ever

A couple weeks ago I was offered the chance to come along to the Paul Frank Bicycle Film Festival at the Barbican, complete with a family screening of ET and some amazing art workshops with Paul Frank. You can imagine how gutted I was to find it was the same day as a big family gathering I'd been looking forward to for months.

I was fascinated by the very idea of the BFF, so decided to send along my friend Dino, who just so happens to love Paul Frank, good films, bikes, and good films about bikes. This thank you note from his kids made up for me missing a fantastic event:

The empty guitar-pick-shaped space did indeed contain a Paul Frank guitar pick, featuring Julius wearing some sunglasses. It's gone straight into service (read this if you're wondering why) so I haven't scanned it! For added super-loveliness, the kids also drew this lovely picture / mathematical equation of me, my husband, and our children.

If this made you smile, please give it some love below!!

PS - If you want to read Dino's review of the Paul Frank Bicycle Film Festival, click here!

Friday, 15 October 2010

Language lessons from a three year old

Last weekend, we were getting ready to go see our friends up near Oxford, and my husband was telling the kids all about what we would be doing there, and about who we were going to see. M's little friend Patrick, sweetly referred to as Patrick-ino, is half italian and half scottish, so the conversation went a little like this:

M:  And Patrick-ino's mummy is Italian, isn't she? And that means she's from Italy.
Danger Boy (in the background):  Paaaaatch-INO.... Paaaaatch-INO.... Paaaatch-ICK-INO
Daddy:   That's right, so when we say "Hello" to her, we need to say "Bonjourno". Can you say "Bonjourno?"

Silence. A curious and confused stare. We speak a bit of a jumble of French and English at home, with a little bit of Franglais and some made-up words thrown in, and at 3.5 years old, M already has an ear for language. She just plucks new words out of the air and somehow knows how to pronounce them properly (except the word "necessity") and how to use them correctly in context. So I was surprised at the silence.

Until she finally opened her mouth and said,

Daddy, it's not "Bonjourno". It's "BUON-GIORno".

I've since found out that at nursery she teaches her friend T how to say things in French, and T teaches her italian. Isn't that the most incredible thing ever? Two preschoolers hanging out in the Home Corner, teaching each other their minority language? I love it.

Suddenly curious about the italian language, M has been asking loads of funny questions, like "How do you sing in Italian?" (I responded with an italian version of Zoom, Zoom, Zoom: Zuma Zuma Zuma, andiamo alla luna), and "How do you laugh in Italian?".

And this morning, we had this little gem:

M: "Mummy, there's a special way of speaking italian when you're busy eating breakfast".
Me: "Erm..OK, let's hear it."
M: "Mmmm-MMMM-mm.  See, that's how you say Buon-gior-no when you have weetabix in your mouth"

I'm smiling just writing it. To think, I'm in for a lifetime of such moments.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

The secret to a happier me: Playing Music

I've recently rediscovered music - creating it, listening to it, savouring it, experiencing it. Strangely enough, I didn't know I had given it up until one day I went to Jeremy Mendonca's slightly free-form and energetic toddler music class. Jeremy biked across the field, standing on the pedals like a big kid, guitar strapped to his back. He burst into the room with such energy, and rather than yet another saccharine rendition of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, got us singing "I'm a Believer" - the Shrek version, and "Ring of Fire", and then the kids ran around with shakers accompanying the mums and dads on "Twist and Shout".

I sang like I'd been locked in a closet for 4 years - singing out loud, I mean really loud, was so incredibly liberating. Liberating from what? Well, something funny happened to me when I had the kids. Parenting (or good parenting) doesn't come naturally, and as a result I have sometimes felt like I'm acting a role rather than actually experiencing life, or experiencing it with the intensity that I'm used to. Partly that means that superb but loud Bad Brains album gathers dust, and rather than singing at the top of my lungs to Janis Joplin, I've been sweetly singing Sleeping Bunnies. Besides giving up my name, my job, my sleep, sponteneity, privacy... I could go on and on! So I felt liberated from the label of being Someone's Mum and felt a little bit more in touch with Me. Needless to say, I've made a point of attending every "Music with Jeremy" session I possibly can!

Anyhow, as some of you will know, Jeremy plays proper music by night, a fun sort of Americana / Bluegrass style. He was playing at a local bar and asked me to come along, so I invited a group of friends, including the fabulous Hilary Kelsh. Watching Jeremy play, Hilary and I both had revelations - separately, and secretly - "I can do that!"*. To make a very very long story short... we confessed our love of music to each other, and well, we made it happen.

Here's the first song in a series of videos from our first ever live show. This song is called Reason, written in August by Hilary Kelsh, and performed at the "Live@25" gig with the help of a few stiff Whisky Macs. I love the part about being "in mourning for myself - not sure who I ought to be".

Please give it a thumbs up and add your comments to YouTube, and if you have time check out some of our other songs on the Hilary Kelsh channel. If you only have time for one more, listen to Shame:

* As it turns out, Hilary can definitely do it!! and I am a bit rubbish and a bundle of nerves, but happy nonetheless.