Six word Saturday: toothache

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Anti-biotics. Soft food. Damn wisdom tooth.

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Carefree to care-managed: the art of growing up?

Carefree: without worries or responsibilities.

We often think of childhood days as carefree; and it is true that watching young children at play evokes a sense of their freedom from concern or constraint.

When the boy-child was younger, fantasy games formed a huge part of his everyday play. Like many children, he loved to create forts out of chairs and blankets, turn cardboard boxes into spaceships, dress up and invent imaginary friends. In his case they were imaginary older siblings, which, for a mother struggling with infertility, was pretty tough to deal with at times.

Incredibly inventive, he was constantly making things. Lego and building blocks were indispensable in building props for his, often quite complex, games. Cardboard sheets were sellotaped and stapled into cars, aeroplanes and once, a huge aircraft carrier (and I mean huge).

Items he wanted but didn’t have were improvised. As a two year old, he made a skateboard out of cardboard and spent hours “doing tricks” on it (I have video footage of this, just waiting until his first commercial skate movie comes out). At pre-school he persuaded one of the teachers to spend a session helping him build a guitar out of cardboard boxes and cylinders, and his first “iPod” was made out of stapled construction paper with a carefully hand-drawn screen.

There was no definite end to this phase, but I suspect that the beginning of the end was primary school. Whereas his Montessori preschool positively encouraged fantasy plan and creativity, his school did not. Nor did many of his new playmates seem to want to involve themselves in the elaborate dressing-up games.

Basically, he began to notice what other children said and did a lot more and he learned to care … specifically to care what other people thought of him.  With that came a diminished capacity to be carefree – instead the key-word became cool.

The boy-child is now 15 and, I think, pretty comfortable in his own skin. He has at times shown tremendous courage – standing up for what he believes in and taking teasing and occasional cyber-nastiness very much in his stride. He seems to have a strong sense of who he is and is willing to go out into the world saying “this is me.”

Of course, that doesn’t stop him choosing his clothing, haircut and shoes according to the “fashion” determined by his peer group, nor rolling his eyes when I suggest something that is “just so uncool.”  But in general, I think he has both the ability and the will to think for himself.

But he is no longer carefree.

I’m posting these photos of my beautiful child to remind him how awesome he is; and in the hope that he will continue to grow his sense of self and one day be happy to put the fairy wings back on, tune the cardboard guitar and take off into space with Nick, Jessica (the imaginary siblings) and – his companion in many adventures – Wham the wonder dog (who is very real, only not a real dog).

Wham the wonderdog; joined the family in 2005. Since graduating from dog school and university with a degree in art history, he's travelled around NZ, to Australia, the UK, Paris and Singapore with the boy-child. He's survived having to live in (rather than out of) a suitcase, several energetic games of Whamball, being left in a hotel in Wellington, and a few cycles in the washing machine and dryer. Eight years old, he's still going strong, although tends not to go out so much anymore. I think he might be writing his memoirs.

Wham the wonder-dog joined the family in 2005. According to the boy-child, after dog school Wham graduated from dog university with a PhD in art history. He’s widely travelled, having been around NZ, to Australia, the UK, Paris and Singapore with us. He’s survived having to live in (rather than out of) a suitcase, several energetic games of Whamball, being left in a hotel in Wellington, and a more than a few cycles in the washing machine and dryer. At eight years old, he’s still going strong, although tends not to go out so much anymore. We think he might be writing his memoirs.

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge theme is carefree.

Here are some other posts you might like:

http://milnersblog.wordpress.com/2013/08/17/weekly-photo-challenge-carefree/

Giant Boy In Paris

Weekly Photo Challenge: Carefree

http://meandmymegapixels.wordpress.com/2013/08/18/chillin-in-the-sun/

http://vosperdruiter.wordpress.com/2013/08/18/carefree-take-2-weekly-photo-challenge/

http://constellarations.wordpress.com/2013/08/18/sand-banks-weekly-photo-challenge-carefree/

http://eljaygee.wordpress.com/2013/08/18/wpc-carefree/

http://ulillala.wordpress.com/2013/08/18/weekly-photo-challenge-carefree/

http://sreeniviews.wordpress.com/2013/08/17/carefree/

Travel theme: big

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Dwarfed: visitors to the Great Court at the British Museum

The British Museum holds  one of the biggest collections of material relating to human history and culture, with a permanent collection of over 8 million items. Around one percent of the collection is on display at any time, despite the fact that the museum is physically one of the largest in the world – covering an area of around 92,000 square metres.

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Inside the Great Court is the Reading Room of the British Museum.

The Great Court at the centre of the Musuem is the biggest covered square in Europe. The circular Reading Room used to be part of the British Library until that institution was moved to a new building nearby.

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Big; just a few of the books inside the British Museum Reading Room.

Since the Reading Room became part of the Museum, it has been opened to the general public. Before this, one had to register for a Reader’s Card to gain access to the library’s enormous collection. Karl Marx, Mahatma Gandhi, Virginia Woolf and Oscar Wilde all visited and worked there.

Dwarfed #2: the boy-child meets the boy-king.

Dwarfed #2: the boy-child meets the boy-king.

Thanks to Ailsa at Where’s my Backpack for this week’s travel theme: big

One shot – two ways

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is to shoot the same scene in both landscape and portrait orientations. The terms “landscape” and “portrait” imply what we can expect from a shot, and to an extent how we read a series – moving from the establishing landscape shot which provides context – to the portrait which invites us to appreciate detail.

Mostly, that’s what I’ve done – but there are a couple of exceptions!

Sculpture; Te Papa, Wellington

Sculpture; Te Papa, Wellington

Capturing the photographer; reflections in sculpture. Te Papa, Wellington.

Capturing the photographer; reflections in sculpture. Te Papa, Wellington.

Boats; Herald Island wharf. Auckland, NZ

Boats; Herald Island wharf. Auckland, NZ

Detail of boats at Herald Island wharf. Auckland, NZ

Detail of boats at Herald Island wharf. Auckland, NZ

Bar, Aotea Square,  Auckland, NZ

Bar, Aotea Square, Auckland, NZ

Auckland reflected in chair-back. Bar, Aotea Square, Auckland, NZ

Office buildings reflected in chair-back. Bar, Aotea Square, Auckland, NZ

Water feature, Auckland War Memorial Museum.

Water feature, Auckland War Memorial Museum.

Water feature, Auckland War Memorial Museum.

Water feature, Auckland War Memorial Museum.