Raindrops on roses
And whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woollen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favourite things
These are the opening lyrics to the well loved Rodgers & Hammerstein song from one of my favourite childhood musicals, The Sound of Music. Times have changed considerably since those lyrics were written and I wouldn’t be too confident that a pair of warm woollen mittens would be greeted with excitement in our house. Certainly not in our soggy Irish climate.
My own ‘favourite things’ have changed a lot over the years with different fads, fashions and lifestyle changes. My favourite heels from my twenties have nothing on my current favourite shoes — a trusty pair of Skechers. Admittedly they don’t light up any nightclubs, or lengthen my calves like my killer heels once did, but they are great for driving and perfect for when I’m in hot pursuit of my four year old.
Like anyone else, I have loads of other favourite things ;
Friday evenings, the smell of earth in the air after summer rain, REM, Sauvignon Blanc, Game of Thrones and the Cliffs of Moher. Date nights and birthday cake. Diamonds (as big and sparkly as possible), the smell of my dog and great coffee. The beach in winter, Connemara and our Christmas tree which is so colourful and eclectic, that it looks like Christmas vomited on it.
However, my most favourite things are not ‘things’ at all. They are memories, experiences, or learnings from my children’s lives. Small anecdotes that light up the day and serve as a reminder of how wonderful the smallest people in the house are. Here are a few things I particularly like;
The innocence of children: The complete innocence of children is one of the things that make them disarmingly charming (say that quickly!). One evening, Big Girl who was in Junior Infants at the time announced very seriously ‘Múinteoir knows all the tricks in the book’. No doubt one of the students had been trying to get one over on the teacher, but Big Girl was completely convinced that there was an actual book of tricks and that Múinteoir knew it cover to cover.
Pronunciation mistakes: As children learn to talk, it is inevitable that there will be some words mispronounced along the way. I don’t correct them as a rule because the kids soon learn the proper pronunciation. Big Girl is seven now and still calls refers to vegetables as ‘veg-a-bells’. When she was little she used to call birds’ nests ‘mests’ and truth be told, the first day she said ‘nest’, a little bit of my heart broke. Small Boy, who is four still says ‘meh-four’ instead of ‘before’ and it always makes me smile.
Sibling love: Recently when discussing the birth of Small Boy, Big Girl said; ‘It was the best day of my life, I was so excited to meet my little brother’. Small Boy retorted within the blink of an eye ‘And now you just think I am an idiot’……
Their kindness: Children have a huge capacity to be kind. Sometimes I think spend too much time complaining when Small Boy and Big Girl are mean to each other. I should be praising them more when they are kind. On more than one occasion, I have been moved to tears by the generosity of spirit they have shown each other and to other children.
Their laughter: Is there anything truly as wonderful as the laughter of a child? Whether it’s the cheeky gurgles of a baby or the full belly laugh of a school child, the laughter of a child is truly golden.
Their Memories: How small children remember everything is beyond me. They seem to have a special place in their memory for anything that you promised them when under pressure. Perhaps like me, you bribed them with chocolate to keep quiet in an awkward situation or promised a trip to the park when the rain stopped. Whatever it was, you will have forgotten within an hour. Children on the other hand will NEVER forget and will keep reminding you until you deliver.
Watching them while they are sleeping: I love going in to check on my children after they have fallen asleep at night. Curled up, they look so small in their big beds. Their hair is tousled and their breathing is gentle. These late-night visits never fail to remind me that my children are my favourite people.