A Last-Ever Milestone

17 Dec 2014

Like lots of parents up and down the land, today The Boss and I sat through Mini Minx’s nativity and all 3 minxes’ carol concert. Well, The Boss endured them – he’s not feeling well at all and is varying between looking grey and looking pale.

Maxi’s similar, but has occasional bouts of energy (eg the carol concert). Also, the poor child has been embarrassed by burps that smell of rotten eggs. They really do. Proper fill-the-room-with-stink ones. Wee soul! Whilst I questioned her about how much water she was drinking and whether she was pooing enough, The Boss actually bothered to look in her throat. And instantly recoiled: red, swollen, with yellow pus-filled blisters. Bluerghy tonsillitis (bleurghy – it’s a technical term; a polite form of ‘minging’). No wonder she feels sick, has a cough and is smelly! That’ll be a trip to the GP tomorrow, then, to check whether she needs antibiotics or not.

So, today we joined with the rest of the school community in pooling our germs by sitting amongst the most effective bacterial vectors in the known Universe: small children.

We watched the nursery kids do their nativity play. Mini had a lot of talking to do in her part as the Innkeeper, but surprisingly she seemed shy of the older kids and parents watching her, and could be barely heard. As with other minx nativities, it struck me that the staff had obviously put in tons of effort and time, but many children seemed to stumble through the motions, not enjoying it, enduring it like The Boss was, and not understanding what was going on. Why do we do this every year to our kids? I get that for practising Christians, subjecting small kids to nativity plays is part of teaching them about their religion. But my logical little mind doesn’t really get why we all do it. Yes, yes, children learn lots of skills through taking part, such as being able to speak and sing in front of an audience, it’s a memory test, and it’s a wee introduction to drama. But why is it always the youngest pre-schoolers who’re made to perform whilst we parents coo over them? Perhaps the kids would engage in those new skills a bit more enthusiastically if it was in a setting that they understood or empathised with a bit more, like the older children are given? Like an interpretation of the latest Disney film…? Ah well, though, never again – the youngest minx has taken part in her last nativity. I guess the next nativity I attend and smile at will be for my grandchildren (gulp!)

The carol concert that evening was also lovely. It’s only a small school so all the children fit on the stage at the same time. Maxi tried hard to “engage enthusiastically”, whilst Midi giggled her way through the entire concert with her best friend. Many of the children got to speak a line in front of the audience, saying what they were most looking forward to about Christmas. Both older minxes talked about their Daddy being home for a whole week and seeing their grandparents. Awwww!

The older kids were asked to dress in a Victorian style for the concert. Maxi asked originally for a flat cap, breeches and waistcoat. I poo-pooed that idea and came up with middle partings and scraped back hair, severe dress (school uniform), a bit of tied lace as a kind of collar, another strip of wide lace pinned over the top of a minx head, and a folded over frilly pillowcase tied around the waist to form a sort of apron. It took 5 minutes and was a bit tenuous, but all I could manage without spending money.

Nativity

I’m 41.  I have 6 siblings and 3 daughters.  I have sat through as many nativity plays as some teachers.  Don’t tell anyone, shhhhh, but they make me cry the more I see!

Maxi and Midi Minx took part in theirs today.  Midi was typical Midi and made me laugh and cry in the same breath.  Dressed as a star, with her wispy white-blonde hair framing that angelic little face, she looked so sweet and full of the wonder of Christmas.  My inner scold reprimanded me: “You take those children for granted!  They’ll not be young for long!  This might be the last year they’re all so innocent and believe in Santa Claus!” (sometimes I wish the narky auld witch would just bog off or shut up…).  As I stifled a little gasp at the sight of my 2nd baby confidently smiling at the audience, she picked up the wand one of her fellow-stars had dropped and, for all the world like a Mother Hen, gave it back, then shepherded her friend away from the edge, then gathered them all into a little skipping circle.  She’s the youngest child in the school (9 days younger and she’d have been in the following school year instead) but she looks after her school-friends like she’s their older sister.

Maxi, meanwhile, confidently spoke her narrative piece.  For an anxious little girl, she does relish a good audience!  And to the right of the stage, wrapped up in a white blanket, was the Little Baby Jesus, aka Mini’s baby Annabel doll, complete with blue biro-scribbled cheeks.

The children then sang Away in a Manger.  It’s not my absolute favourite carol, but it’s near the top.  However, I can’t listen to or sing the third verse without croaking or crying (I blubbed at our village’s Christmas Lights Turn-On when we sang it, but luckily it was in the dark..!).  I’m not sure why it seems to be getting to me more this year more than most.  It’s not that I’ve known of more little children and babies dying or becoming seriously ill this year than in other years (or maybe it is – the number is far, far too many); maybe it’s just all associated with my inner nark’s chant about the transience of childlike innocence, and how bitterly short some precious little lives are.

Seizing a brief moment of crunchy fun at the pink start to another day.

Seizing a brief moment of crunchy fun at the pink start to another day.  See?  I do pay attention to the Inner Nark sometimes.