Monday, February 12, 2007

Happiness, happiness...

Ah me, the little things that make my heart sing. Particularly at this dull time of year, when I have been feeling like going into enforced hibernation.

A little while back, no 3 took part in a school assembly on the subject of Happiness. She was very keen for me to come, and being the dutiful mother I am I duly obliged, although I have to confess after six years of attending Infant School Assemblies I have more then had my fill. What was all very cute when no 1 did it, and I was happy enough to sit with a babe (no3) on my lap and a toddler (no2) at my side, in order to put off the evil hour when I had to go back home and tackle the housework, now seems like an unwelcome distraction designed to stop me working/running/playing and generally interfering with Project: Get My Life Back.

To add insult to injury, every single time I tip up the assembly seems to go on, and on, and on....

And, so it was on this occasion.

First off it's the birthdays. All the kids who have birthdays that week get up and have the birthday song sung to them. For a school that is notoriously pathetic about Elf and Safety, they bizarrely allow the children to light the candles on the birthday cake. I've never worked that one out...

The birthday song goes:

A Happy Birthday To You
A Happy Birthday To You
Every day of the year may you feel Jesus near
(it is a CofE school after all)

A Happy Birthday To You
A Happy Birthday To You
And the best one you've ever had.

It's quite sweet the first time you hear it - but I must be on my millionth odd listening, and I can tell you - IT PALLS....

After that, all the children who've done Good Work get up to proudly show off their pieces. This can take some time, and my heart always sinks when I see the number of books in the pile.

On this occasion one of the year two classes who had been studying poetry, also had to show off their alternative versions of the Ning Nang Nong. Inevitably the word "poo" crept up quite a lot. And in the interests of equality every kid in the class had to be represented - luckily they were working in groups - so this too, took some time.

By the time it was no 3's turn I was itching to get off. She had been most insistent that I came, so I had fondly imagined she might have a starring role. Uh, uh. Her sole contribution was to hold up a picture representing what made her happy.

And, knock me down with a feather. She'd drawn all of us.

Aah, how sweet.

Of course, this made me very happy indeed - her best friend drew her ballet lessons - but I was less then sanguine when I realised she was looking weepy and was feeling so ill I ended up taking her home. Another day of : running/working/Project Get A Life lost to the endless duties of motherhood.

I was pleasantly surprised again when I took them to church on Sunday (I'm an infrequent and semi-lapsed Catholic, but figure they can't reject something they don't understand, so occasionally in a fit of enthusiasm I drag them all out with me on Sunday morning when Spouse is at the gym) - and the subject of their childrens' liturgy was also happiness. Again, no 3 drew all of us and no 4 drew her sisters. A more notable sign that I am doing something right in the parenting stakes I have yet to see...

Nos 1&2 are now too big for such things, so I have no idea about what makes them happy. (Though I would hazard a guess that it's being nowhere near her parents for no 1 and having everyone tell her how wonderful she is for no 2).

However, I was pretty pleased to discover at their parents' evening last week that not only do they seem to be doing pretty well at school (actually no 2 like her dad is incredibly lazy and needs a good kick up the backside - if she gets to it, she could actually do really well), but better than that, their teachers seem to find them funny. They both post little cartoons into their work and create characters with speech bubbles commenting on what they are learning about. No2 did a hilarious one about Jesus' birth and No1 apparently introduced a space man into her talk on the planets.

I don't know why discovering that other people find my children as funny as I do makes me feel like I am floating in a great big bubble of happiness, but for some reason it does.

I can't think where they get it from, I remarked to Spouse when I got back. Easy, he said witheringly, they live with us.

My sister was of the same opinion. Of course they're funny, she said, both their parents are barking. Spouse with his constant DIY (current project: clearing out the garage, building shelves to put all the junk away so he can make the kitcar he's been wanting to build ever since I've known him), and me with my running/writing/blogging/trying to pretend I'm a proper huswif, when quite frankly I'd rather be doing anything else.

So there you have it.

Happiness is having two children who think their happiness is dependent on you. Two who think it isn't.

When the reality is, your happiness is dependent on and entirely due to them. Even if it means you're completely barking....

Oh, and as of yesterday, happiness also included clearing the border outside the front door which has been home to a hideous sprouting triffid like grass, which I have finally dispatched and sent to the great green grass in the sky.

Easily pleased, me...


Nic said...

I can't think of any better validation! enjoy it whilst you can, I'm guessing at some point all of them will be teenagers at once...

BTW I am constantly amazed by the parents who seem gobsmacked when I tell them their child is good company and makes me laugh...

Clare said...

Hi Jane,

I can't find an email address on your blog, so maybe you could email me about Bloggers With Book Deals? (see my blog for details - entry dated 13th Feb)

My email address is Clare AT ClareSudbery DOT co DOT uk

nutmeg said...

I was a little chuffed at daughter #1 recieving a merit card today - generally given for a body of good works i.e., being helpful. Though, I'm sure the shine would have been a little dulled had I had to sit through an assembly to see it given out! Not that the whole class over the course of the last couple of weeks have all been given one!

I am already getting a taste of that " my child going OK/keeping up/not falling behind...?" nerves already. Even though I vowed that I would not fall prey to such craziness. Is it inherent to being a mother? I suppose the best I can do is see it rising up within me and keeping it in check some way.

As to tackling a job that has been hanging around for a while - relief tinged with exhiliration when it's done that's for sure; no matter the size o the job :-)

h&b said...

Oh, funny.

I know i'm always chuffed when someone notices my child's sweetness, light and amazingness.

If you've so far missed it, I can email you exmaples, with picturs and video feeds ... ?

Kidding ;)
But yeah, it's nice to know when people affirm what you're already thinking. Keeps you on track, and gives you a glow. Everybody should have a special glow....

Jane Henry said...

Nic - I wish you taught my children!!! The fact that my eldest has not long to go till she morphes into Kevin has not escaped me. After all the stress of the baby and toddler years I suspect the next year or two might be our golden age in terms of family time, so I mean to enjoy it for as long as I can....

Clare thanks for the invite have gone over to see you!

Nutmeg - don't pay any attention to a hardbitten old cynic like me. I feel very sorry for my poor little no 4 - I am so jaded by everything she does, whereas no 1 gets all the glory of doing everything first. Mind you, that includes being first to sweat it out for secondary school (results of her exam out on 1 March - and are we sweating!!), so it's not always the best place to be in the family.

h&b - I am just thrilled when someone likes me children as much as I do!!

Bec of the Ladies Lounge said...

You made me happy just reading about all that happiness. does that add to your H-quotient today?

liz fenwick said...

Having just spent a wonderful holiday with mine I know what you mean about them being responsible your happiness......mind you why was I shouting like a harpie last night???