Reading by Sunset

Moving the World

Two figures, immersed in their books, sit on the balcony.

One looks up. Admires the setting sun. Goes back for another page or two. Looks up again.

It’s a perfectly clear evening and the distant sea is glowing crystal blue… that blue, the one that only comes at sunset and sunrise… her favourite colour of all.

“Check out the beautiful sunset,” she suggests to her young companion.

The Munchkin looks up and briefly takes it in. “Wow, Mum, it’s amazing!” and then goes back to his book.

For several minutes they sit in silence. Reading. Looking up occasionally to note the subtle changes in colour of sky and sea.

Ships can be spotted as they sail out of the bay. The Munchkin goes inside to grab the binoculars and proceeds to check them out. “Mum, that one’s huge! Can we please check out what it is?”

I’m reluctant to go inside to check the internet for the shipping map. It is so lovely out here, and this will be one of the last evenings like this before Autumn really settles in.

But I do anyway… to satisfy his curiosity… to encourage his interest.

I know that if I do, there will be many more evenings just like this – of books and sunsets and passing ships in the distance. Maybe one day, that may create something powerful enough to move the world!

Today I am grateful.

My son, the Viking

Viking Magic

The Munchkin has a fascination with Vikings… and Romans… and Egyptians… and with anything “history” in general.

It all started with an audio book of Cressida Cowell’s How to Train your Dragon (btw, the plot is NOTHING like the movie), while he was still a preschooler. Soon we were working our way through the series, even convincing the school library to buy in the remaining books. We bought several more audio books, and then our own copies of the paperbacks.

David Tennant became a regular part of our daily breakfast routine.

Soon the Munchkin, after reading these fun, but historically inaccurate histories, started seeking more. We watched Time Team and Horrible Histories on TV. We visited museums and exhibitions. Keen to feed his interest, his delighted grandparents et al scoured the bookshops and supplied a number of excellent volumes.

And still he wanted more…

He enjoyed dressing up and role-playing, running around the backyard, a sword (stick, pole, garden stake) ever in hand. Every shower seemed to be accompanied by a young boy draped in a towel announcing, “I’m a Roman” or “I’m an Egyptian”.

The Viking Shield project commenced… a long, drawn out effort by both parents (with a teeny bit of help from the Munchkin) to turn a storm-battered gas heater hood into something the Munchkin could battle with.

And then there were the runes…

Viking Runes

After reading the Viking Magic series by Anna Ciddor recently, he asked if we could make our own runes. Maybe they would also be magic! Secretly, I wondered whether this could turn out to be another “craft project” (and we all know how well THEY go)!

So rather than getting all cranky-pants about him not helping, I just let it go. I collected a range of suitable pebbles from around the place for him to choose his final 24 runestones. We worked through the characters from the book together… he’d select the stone, I’d paint the rune. Maybe some of his “magic” would become part of them this way. But as he sat with his nose buried in his comic book, occasionally looking up to vaguely point in the direction of the next stone, I realised that my understanding of such things were totally irrelevant.

He just wants to play. To create his own Viking Magic, imparting his own stories in his own games. He may make up hidden “magical” meanings for these stones. Maybe he’ll even make up secret codes using them. But he will play with them, over and over again.

As I painted a second coat on the stones alone, I had one of my crazy Mack Truck moments. It’s time to stop fighting him, and use my special gifts (i.e. painting accurate runes) to help nurture his passions and creative talents – his “sparks”. It’s time to let go of my adult expectations, and just enjoy being part of the journey – to use these experiences to enhance my own life journey too… maybe rekindle a few sparks of my own.

I’m not sure what is going to happen next or where this is going to lead, but in the meantime, keep an eye out for the #kidspark hashtag. I think it spells good things to come. (Meanwhile, my brain is TOTALLY exploding with the possibilities!!!)

Today I am grateful.

Spelling Bears

Spelling Bears

I think I may have discovered the ultimate secret study tool…

The Bears!

Yes, our faithful friends have been called upon yet again to perform miracles that Mums and Dads just cannot pull off. Of course, honey helps!

Luckily, Queen Bee (literacy co-ordinator and leader of the school Spelling Bee) had just that particular sweetener on offer to all Spelling Bee finalists, to which the Munchkin proudly announced his achievement this week.

Naturally, The Bears decided to get involved.

Taking the list from the Munchkin’s bag, Beebee jumped straight into it…

“Teddy, spell HEART”. “H.A.R.T” says Teddy (aka The Munchkin).

“No”, says Beebee (aka Me), “Try again. HEART.”

And so it continued. When Teddy (aka The Munchkin) got it right, there was celebration. When she got it wrong, repetition was required.

Of course, in all fairness, Beebee also needed to be put to the test. Prior arrangements with the Munchkin ensured that Beebee would not get 100% on the test… in fact, suggestions as to which words Beebee might struggle with were even made!

In the National Spelling Bear competition, with 100,000 jars of honey as the grand prize, Beebee (aka Me) entered as a finalist. He did remarkably well in the early stages, nailing the simpler words. But as predicted, he stumbled a little on “MILLION” and “LIBRARY” and “BECAUSE”. The rules of the competition proved to be incredibly fair though, and on a correct second attempt, Beebee was allowed to continue.

Eventually Beebee was declared the winner. In true bear spirit, he decided to keep 100 jars for himself, give 100 jars to his partner/coach Teddy and distribute the remaining honey to bears around the world in need (including those in the Retired Home for Bears in Lima)!

The school Spelling Bee final is on later this week. I wonder how the Munchkin will fair 😉

For imagination on behalf of Queen Bee, the Munchkin and two very cute bears… Today I am grateful!

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Hi, I’m Cath

Cath Connell

Creating my amazing life one tiny moment at a time. Bringing the Hubby, a Munchkin and about a dozen tomato plants along for the ride.

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