Monday, February 28, 2011

Mothers are quite something and Book#10: Playing with the Grown-Ups

Mothers, I’ve decided, are quite something! Providers of unconditional love; food, water and education; they sacrifice sleep, fashion and their own sanity for their children – and then of course there are the levels of patience and tolerance they exhibit. I’m not a mum – but I have an incredible one, and a wonderful mother-in-law as well {Happy Birthday M-i-L}.

As I’m sure all mothers do, mine had tactics. Rewards in the form of chocolate should I get into the bath on time, shopping trips abroad come educational achievements, and an endless supply of ideas to ensure we burned off energy outside, while giving her a quiet reprieve indoors.

One of my most vivid memories of childhood was both Mum - and Dad’s - ability to transform stories into reality. We’d receive our own “Lighthouse Keeper’s Lunch” as a picnic basket was attached to a rope and pulley and make our own cakes that a “Witch in the Cherry Tree” would wish to consume.

A love of reading was fostered, encouraged and nurtured in our household, particularly for 20 minutes after lunch – “Quiet Time” as mum called it. Whether we had friends over or not (actually, especially when we had friends over!), after filling up on fuel and before an afternoon of activity could begin, we’d each choose a book off the bookshelf and read “quietly” for 20minutes.

A stalwart of my childhood reading was Roald Dahl: The Twits, The BFG, James and the Giant Peach, Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, Mathilda – oh the stories, the sagas, and the adventures we’d find in his pages.

So, the other week, as I was out browsing for books, I came across another book authored by Dahl. Only this time, the name was Sophie - the granddaughter of one of my most beloved children’s authors. (What’s more, as Wikipedia has just informed me, she was the inspiration for the character of Sophie in Roald Dahl’s story, “The BFG”).

Sophie Dahl’s book, Playing with the Grown-Ups, is a story of a mother and daughter, a childhood, a relationship, and a conflict between a daughter who wants to grow up and a mother who wants to stay young. I’m not sure that I would call it enjoyable, intriguing perhaps, but not captivating. It certainly won’t go on my favourites shelf, but it may well get pride of place, if nothing else but for its cover. Almost too pretty for words.


  1. You say tactics, I say bribes... tomato tomatoe ;) hehe... (oh, that's the mother in me getting distracted)

  2. What a lovely post. Well done parents ! Kids hooked on books for life.