Thursday, May 01, 2008

Old Mummy, Old Daddy

My parents were 21 when they had me. C's were a bit older but still in their twenties. This as opposed to C and I of course who were 44 and 38 when Tricky was born.


Along with all the other happy thoughts I like to torture myself with is the concept that C and I will be old before Tricky finishes high school. Well, no, not old exactly (what is 'old' after all) we will still be young at heart, free spirited, fun loving hipsters, we'll just be more wrinkled I suppose. And possibly smell funny.

This is partly why I'm feeling a little reassured that Tricky’s New Best Ever Favouritist Book In The World is called “Old Bear.”

This book is written and illustrated by Jane Hissey. Kudos to you Jane, I see you have a range of books featuring Old Bear and his younger, sprightlier companions. I am intrigued by your surname and wonder if your friends laugh at you unkindly whenever you get cross and accuse you of having a “Hissey Fit”. I myself would find that intensely irritating.

But enough of asides to the writer, this is the story:

Old Bear is shabby and hideous, for all we know he also smells and hoards things, he certainly likes to get around naked. The limitations and enforced brevity of picture books being what they are, we simply learn that Old Bear is too old to be allowed to remain with the other toys and so he gets flung into the attic by…who? (The Humans we suppose, never mentioned by name but their destructive influences, and toothbrushes, are everywhere.)

Luckily the toys - the younger, sprightlier toys, reveling in their boundless energy and ruffled good looks- one day remember Old Bear and decide to Bring Him Down.

Cue a number of stupid (but touching) efforts by the teenage like Little Bear (who, rather suspiciously, sports mad red eyes and exhibits erratic behaviour) to try and reach the trap door in the ceiling. After various misadventures with towers of blocks, bouncing on bed and a pot plant (ahem), Little Bear is flown to the attic by Rabbit in a small red aeroplane.

In the attic, Old Bear is discovered, still naked and reading a book. He and Little Bear don their handkerchief parachutes and jump down, to be welcomed by a cheering crowd of Duck, Rabbit, Sailor and alpha bear Bramwell Brown.

Tricky likes to hear this story at 6.30 every morning and at 7.00 every evening. As he listens he clutches to himself C’s childhood teddy, still in original woolen blue overalls as knitted by long gone grandmother, recently discovered languishing at the back of the bookshelf. (Teddy, not grandmother)

Daddy Old Bear Tricky likes to say. Daddy Old Bear. Then he hugs the bear tenderly and picks at the buttons.

I feel heartened by this, both the story and the hugging. I’m hoping it bodes well for C and I and our hipster/hip replacement years.


Em said...

That does bode well.

The only thing that bothers me about being an older parent is the thought that if my children wait as long as I did to have children of their own, my grandchildren will be visiting me in a nursing home. Sigh.

Susie said...

Wow, Daddy Old Bear's overalls look brand new! They certainly have worn well!

Grit said...

power to old bear. even if he does run around naked.

i was 39 when i had the kids ... when they were babies, people in the street routinely took me for their grandmother. great.

Anonymous said...

Heh - I was twice as old as my mum - she was 18, I was 36.

Who cares- most people I know are older mums - it is the done thing these days - we won't be alone.


Betty F said...

I love the book! I'll have to look for it for my grand children. Makayla being the most loyal will tell the others, Be NICE to Gran.. she's OOLLDD...
Thanks for your blog

Anonymous said...

Awww, that's so sweet!

Unknown said...

I've come to the conclusion that it matters not one whit the age of the parent, just the scope of the parenting. I was almost 21 when my daughter was born and still wanted to sleep late in the morning and go out to the pubs at night...neither happened much. But by god I had energy to spare all day.

My daughter, a 'mature' mum, gets up cheerfully at the crack of dawn, stays pretty lively by day, but is ready to collapse by 9.

I remain committed, in my house and hers, to pulling out all the old books and toys, trying to save them from a Buzz Lightyear/Old Bear sort of fate!

Mima said...

It sounds like a lovely story, and how cute that Tricky has fallen in love with C's teddy, some toys are precious and remain so through generations. I think as an older parent you bring more wisdom to parenting (and possibly more patience) that younger parents don't have the life experience for. And as long as you all enjoy each other, what does it matter?

Mima said...

I have just been visiting, and Betty has found me, and I just wanted to say thank you so much for the kind words on her blog, and send some much deserved love in your direction. You write with an honesty that I hugely admire, and manage to make it funny at the same time, something I will never achieve in a month of Sundays. You have suffered your fair share of problems, and yet you still rise smiling, an inspiration to me on living life to the full.

Mony said...

I had a dream about you last night.
Nothing Kinky.
You won a Logie.
Hee! Always close in my my thoughts OG!
I somehow lost my copy of your book! So have requested a new one for Mother's Day. May attempt to get you to autograph it again too.

Maggie May said...

I was twenty four when I had my first so I am a Grannie & still have my teeth & faculties (well maybe not all of them)!
I like to go into play groups with my 3 yr old Millie (grandaughter) I expected to get strange looks! But have made some YOUNG friends! That's marvellous!
Kids love you whatever the age. All they need is love..... love .... love as the Beatles woud say!

Lindsey said...

I love the old bear story.
And as for getting old, hip, hip hooray/replacement!

And sorry to learn that your FET didn't pan out like you had imagined. I wish it could have been the other way.