Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Musicmakers and Mama J

Some days I look back over the blogs Mr B and I have written recently and marvel. Can it really be that we are married, live in the same house and share our days?  Our thoughts and focus seem to diverge hugely.

Because, of course, Mr B has neglected to mention any of the most IMPORTANT happenings of the past few days, preferring to dwell instead on birds, other wildlife, mud and complicated statistical models.

On Friday I had my first experience of giving someone the sack. It was not enjoyable but it needed doing (thank you Wicked Uncle for your firm advice, which was subsequently backed up by lots of local friends). On Monday, Mama J started work for us. She is lovely. The house has not been this clean since we moved in and, after an initial briefing, I have barely had to make any suggestions or requests. She is a quiet but cheerful presence in the house and the Mancub has even consented to have a few cuddles with her (any other Tanzanian woman trying to pick him up is met with a loud and insistent "no, no, no, NOOOO!") and she decided off her own bat to create a powerful concoction today to ease Mr B's chest-heaving cough which has plagued him for a few days now. Nothing dodgy mind, just an eye-watering cup of tea complete with lemon juice, honey and a very large quantity of ground ginger. She has tactfully suggested that some of the things in the fridge may be past their best, and given it a thorough clean for good measure. She has even lugged our heavy sofas aside at least twice in three days to give the floor underneath a good scrubbing. I'm fairly sure that I am the only one who has seen  those bits of floor since the sofas moved in with us....

Today's new event was the inauguration of "Music Makers" - a group for parents and toddlers - at our house. The last couple of weeks I have finally felt as though I can focus on things other than MOVING TO TANZANIA, finding furniture, being frustrated with my home help, etc etc. I decided it was time to actually proactively play with the Mancub and think of new things to do with him, as well as dragging him round with me on my errands and occasionally heading to the Blue Heron for coffee and swings. So, amongst other things, we started singing songs with actions. He LOVES them. I have sung the wheels on the bus about 50 times in the last fortnight, and many many others. He's really getting the hang of some of the actions, and adores being a "sleeping bunny" and then waking up and hopping about the room yelling "hop 'ittle nunnies, hop, hop, HOP HOP HOP HOP!" (he's not quite so good at the "and stop" bit....) We used to go to a music group in Aberdeen, and Kitty and I did lots of that sort of thing at various toddler groups at the same age, so I decided to set something up here. Yesterday I went shopping at the second hand market, supermarket and stationary shop and purchased cushions to sit on, scarves to dance with, folders for song sheets, sticky labels for names and extra plastic cups for snack time after singing. Today was the trial run - 6 friends with their assorted children coming at 10 am to test drive the group and offer feedback. Well, that was the theory...

Last night I received messages from three friends who each couldn't make it for one reason or another. So today I got everything set up and ready for 10 am and waited expectantly with Alexander for 3 friends and their assorted children....

At 10.15 I decided to phone two of the friends. One was just running late and the other had mis-remembered the start time, thinking it was 10.30 but promised to be along in 5 minutes. At 10.30 the friend I hadn't phoned turned up. She had been passed the message about the group by her husband who I met on the school delivery run. (Reminder to self - do not entrust messages to husbands...) He had informed her that her two older,  school age, children were invited to a music group in the afternoon. Fortunately she phoned yesterday to confirm, but still somehow came 30 minutes late. Over the next 20 minutes the other two friends arrived, so finally at 10.50, we began!

There was certainly a certain amount of singing, and a small amount of actioning too. There was also a fair amount of small children running around and being forcibly returned to the circle by their mothers. And children fighting over books (I had hidden the toys till later but when I was about to move the bookshelf Mr B assured me that they wouldn't be distracted by that...). And mid-potty-training children weeing on the floor, and children needing their bottle of juice... Sleeping bunnies definitely engaged the attention of 3 of the 5 children, who competed with the energy of their hopping, and a couple of the other songs proved popular. The most successful bit was dancing round the room with assorted diaphanous scarves to some funky African music at the end. Oh, and the tea and lemon cake afterwards. A success? I'm not sure. But I'm going to give it another whirl next week and reserve judgement meanwhile.

I didn't get any photos of the group itself, but here are Kitty, the Mancub and me enjoying  music and scarves before bed time.




  1. Fun times.

    The way I see it, anything which ends up with everyone alive, no broken bones, and has included tea and cakes is always a success. OK it might not be the superbly wonderfully spectacularly organised and successfully educationally entertaining thing you set out for it to be, but then that's fairly normal when you are setting up something new for preschoolers. Groups that have been going for a while have set traditions which at least some of the children will know, give it a few weeks and yours will have too.

    Oh re the scarves - Mog's school used to do "atmospherics" with their scarves - hang a load of floaty scarves in a broom cupboard with a joss stick burning and they take on the scent from the joss stick (this bit best done sans enfants!), then have the children lie down and waft the scarves from head to toe with floaty music. Very peaceful.

    Glad Mama J is working out; long may she last!

  2. keep going with the group - it sounds great, and could be the start of mancubs future career as an opera star/west end star or hollywood heartthrob. Best fun I had with this age group was helping them find their whispering voices, shouting voices, singing voices etc, and then the silent voice.... Good Fun, Good Luck.GAF

  3. Loved reading your post. LOL at you and Mr B having markedly different experiences. So glad you've got some decent help in the house, and that having to explain the simplest of tasks doesn't have to be the norm.

    Well done for starting up Music Makers. Verity would be proud of you!


  4. can't wait to see the real thing!