Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Head banging & Heavenly Thoughts

My husband has been away in LA & last weekend my son had a swimming party , so it was a good opportunity for some mother-daughter time. We went into Tirana to vandalised play ground that had finally been renovated . My daughter tried a few things but her heart wasn't in it, doing it alone. she is very close to her brother despite the 4 year age gap & they get on incredibly well 80% of the time. She is very dependent on him as a play mate. At times like this (& quite a few others) I am ashamed to say I momentarily forget to be grateful for my 2 miracle children & wish ours was a bigger family with smaller gaps & so more playmates. The minute one or other is off somewhere, it seems SO quiet & diminished. Both my husband & I grew up in big noisy families where there was always something going on & someone around. I guess it won't matter so much when they're older. But of course my son will reach that stage before my daughter is ready to lose her playmate.

So partly to change tack & partly because I was by then desperate for a coffee, we decided to go to the French Cafe for an edible treat. It is one of only 2 or 3 innovative cafes in Tirana where you can actually get something to eat alongside your espresso. They do French pastries, tarts & 'flan'. It has lots of mirrors, sparkly glass lights which my daughter loves & chic black & white, atmospheric Parisian posters. And yummy cakes. So it feels 'treaty' & grown up, which also appeals to her. As we have observed many a time here, the business opportunities for entrepreneurs are endless, (though the taxes, bribes & lack of a middle class with disposeable income are admittedly stumbling blocks) Yet when a new shop opens here it is invariably a cafe serving only drinks, a wedding dress shop or a fruit & veg shop. It makes sense in that everyone goes out for coffee (& it's cheap here), weddings last 3 days & often involve 3 changes of dresses & fruit & veg is local & cheap too.

So I guess the French cafe appeals predominantly to ex-pats who have different routines, there were people in there having breakfast, students studying & single guys reading the paper. We had a croissant aux amandes, a cappucino & a fruit juice, which meant the inevitable trip to the loo at the end of our visit. We walked through the glass dividing wall which separated the restaurant stalls from the cafe. As we came out of there, my daughter ran ahead, there was a crack & a yelp a she crumpled to the floor.

She had walked straight into the glass door. Someone had closed it behind us for some reason &, this being Albania & window cleaning (along with house cleaning) being something of a national obsession, she hadn't 'seen' the glass, it was so sparkly & clean you didn't notice it. Admittedly there was a large handle on the door , but not at her height. The waiter rushed off for ice &, as always with these situations, especially one involving a child, everyone rushed round offering advice & comfort. This distresses my daughter even more than the injury I think. She can't stand people seeing her cry, or laughing at her or watching her or touching her. Being constantly kissed & cheek pinched in Sri Lanka & Albania put paid to that.

I don't know what it is about my daughter & her head. She is always banging it. I mean always. I have had more notes about head injuries come home for her in 2 years than my son has had in nearly 4 years. She gets them all the time. She is one of those little girls who hangs permanently upside down on the monkey bars. She has fortunately now given that up & only does the monkey bars 'right way up', but she also always seems to be on a collision course with others, or in the way of a ball etc. I have half wondered whether to say anything or ask the teacher on duty to watch out for 'things she does' but then I thought that's just being too over-protective a parent.

Still, it doesn't seem to impede the use of her brain. She is constantly asking questions about things, or coming out with her various 'theories' . She's big into theories at the moment.

Theories & heaven. I don't have many answers for any of them.

For example, recently she told me how she couldn't believe that every snow flake was different when 'you think of all the snow in the world.' but then told me her Theory of Snowflakes'.
She told me she thought that when it stopped snowing, that was when God was making more patterns & thinking up more designs & when He'd got more, then it started snowing again.

She couldn't believe God could think up so many different patterns.

"I guess I could come up with maybe 20" (i.e a very big number) & meanwhile He's done 1000 million."

She also told me that she thinks an earth quake is when God lets go of the world with one hand for a moment, or else is sneezing or shivering. Fortunately we haven't got onto whether God can catch a cold or could in fact accidentally 'drop' the world on that basis. I guess children are used to living in a largely incomprehensible world in which amazing & mysterious things happen which they can't explain. Trouble is our children assume we can explain much of it....

I don't know where she gets this stuff from, but I am glad to see the old grey matter is ticking over & wrestling with thoughts (despite multiple head bangs).

She also has been asking me lots of questions about Heaven, prompted by a library book I think (& of course she has her own theories here too)

"Is Heaven 'up' there in the clouds?"

Before I can answer, she kindly furnishes me with her own theory & then goes on to explain why she has subsequently discarded it as a working theory.

"I thought clouds were each of our houses in Heaven but I know that can't be right because when we fly, we fly above the clouds & I don't see any houses in them, there's just nothing but fluff."

I agree there are no houses there. And she has already decided that Heaven must be 'beyond outer space'.

She seems content with this for the time being & has had enough theorising for one night. She pops her thumb back in her mouth, to indicate the discussion has ended & snuggles down under the covers.

"Night Mummy, see you in the morning."

1 comment:

Iota said...

Introducing ones daughter to good cafes is definitely an important part of mothering.