Tag: children

Day 1 – How hard is it to make a child laugh?

I’d wished my own childhood away with the hopes of more engagement from my parents, then spent the childhood of my own kids thinking ‘what the hell am I doing?’ I relived the horror of my upbringing, feeling like a stunned mullet as I identified each stage from the opposite role. I couldn’t wait for the next stage to end, then it really was all over. With no life experience to draw on, I had no chance to modify the trajectory of their lives. All the missed opportunities to engage and enrich by slowing down to listen, validate and just enjoy. Now I’m raising my grandson.

So, we’re taking part in this 30 Day Slow Down Childhood Challenge. It really spoke to my heart when I saw it on Facebook, so I signed up. Seeing the calendar on paper makes it sound so simple, but the lessons are quite profound.

Day one is all about making your child laugh. How hard can that be? I realised we’d been living the last year making it from day to day, one problem to the next. I pushed aside opportunities to bring myself down to my grandson’s level when he asked. Simple things like building a hut in the lounge, tying a tarpaulin between the bushes to eat under, or to tickle him in a contrived way bringing a bout of belly laughter. The kind of activities that make no sense in a day that demands so many meals, cleaning up, and making sure everyone’s physical needs are met.

I consciously had to make an effort to lock eyes with him. Listening to his faltering attempts to tell a joke I’d heard a hundred times, I had to retain my element of surprise. The urge to correct was over-bearing as I bit my lips together in anticipation. I feigned a hearty laugh, all the while thinking about the work I needed to get done before getting the groceries. Right then I noticed his face had lit up as I’d been made privy to a tiny piece of his six year old world. Grinning widely, he slipped his small, warm hands in mine.
‘I love it when you laugh with me, nana.’
Our rewards were instant.

© Words & Photography by Paula M Cunniffe, New Zealand.
This article may be republished with permission from the author.


Damn you technology…

I’m a patient woman. I actually started this blog three years ago. I signed up with ‘someone else’ and it became so complicated with this and that and working out what went where. I thought it was all my fault for months and felt guilty. I didn’t want to be that person calling every five minutes after pushing a wrong button. I finally plucked up the courage to contact them and found out it was their fault all along.
‘We are very sorry, ma’am, thanks for calling the helpline’.
It was all just too much. I paid a fortune in advance and never even made my first post. I anxed myself to inaction for way too long. Their promo video about its simplicity was a load of lies, the s***-kickers.
Plus, I hate being called ma’am.

I’d love to be that person asking for what they want and knowing their rights. Give honest feedback, logically, sensibly, critically, helpfully… all in a way that makes all parties feel like they haven’t been given a wrath suppository by a head-spinning, froth-spitting minion of satan. I start imploding and feel the pent up ‘roid rage of a weightlifter, then this fragile ferret voice comes from nowhere and I find myself saying, ‘it’s okay, no problem.’

I’m not technology challenged, I’m choice challenged. Don’t give me options, give me results. Read my mind. Correctly. I sound like a millenial, but I’m not. I’m 48, going on 70.

The day my youngest child started primary school in 2000, I went to university. To get back into the print graphic design industry I’d left for motherhood in 1989, I’d have to learn to use a computer. Two degrees later without learning web design for my up-skilled design career, I was still up s*** creek without a paddle. I can’t tell you how many jobs I missed out on because ‘graphic designer’ and ‘web designer’ decided to marry and have a child called ‘bloody-superperson-who-can-do-everything-designer-would-you-like-some-fries-with-that-while-I-whip-you-up-a-quick-animation-thingy-for-your-sidebar-and-order-your-business-cards?’.

Turns out I’m not one of those mathy-coding type people. I hear numbers and gobbledy-gook going in, and I can’t see it or place it anywhere in this physical realm that resembles anything that feels like home. It’s like asking me what the colour of number nine smells like.
HTML… <blah blah blah bladdy blah blah stick it up your bum>

I hope I never have to eat my words on that one.

© Words by Paula M Cunniffe, New Zealand.
Photo credit: from http://elixiraid.com/rapid-growth-health-care-sector-connecting-technology-step-ahead-surviving-superhuman/