Month: December 2016

She’s special; she’s a maggot…

The recent production of Matilda the musical not only enthralled and amused me, it opened up new ideas of children’s talents and gifts. Everyone knows about Roald Dahl and his Revolting Rhymes or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but the privileged few like me who were entertained by the musical spectacle of naughty, grotty, horrible and amazing child prodigy came away with lots of smiles and conversation.

Matilda Wormwood can read far beyond her years. Not only Dickens, Hardy, and the classics, she has the incredible gift of being ” an exception to the rule” as Miss Honey so kindly tells Miss Trunchbull. She is the little kid who can teach grown ups lessons. She’s the little kid who is a girl but her father calls her a boy. She is the child who excels at counting, algebra and story telling. She can stand up for herself. Small, strong and fearless.

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This little girl spoke eloquently, deliberately, knowingly, and gloriously. With her obsessive ball room dancing mother, Matilda’s composure was admirable. With her corrupt and devious car salesman father, Matilda spoke simply with conviction and possessing good morals. And with Miss Honey her teacher, she spoke truthfully and gently showing a rare empathy with her ruined situation. A teacher who made a difference to her life.

The musical got me thinking about children’s gifts and talents. How we need to celebrate them not be threatened by them. There’s a myth that says giftedness is something to be jealous about – UNTRUE! Often gifted children feel isolated and misunderstood.

Any click on google will bring up the characteristics of the gifted child – sophisticated vocabulary, a thirst for knowledge and learning, memory, abstract thinking and reasoning, a love of books, awe-inspiring understanding and knowledge about a subject, understanding adult hypocrisy and cover-up – the list goes on.

We see all these in Tim Minchin’s interpretation of the book, where Matilda reads widely, quickly and intensely. She has well developed powers, is a fluent thinker and uses her imagination to fantasise. Above all this little special girl has an intrinsic motivation to learn.

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I am challenged by this little girl who teaches grown ups lessons. Apart from the brilliant cast, songs, dancing and theatrical stage creativity, this show is a must see. I even managed to talk to another girl in the crowds whose name, like my grand daughter, is Matilda. Here she is dressed for the occasion.

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I am now ready to re-read the book, searching for the magic, naughtiness and “throwing children around by the hair” tension that makes the author Roald Dahl so famous.

Perhaps you, like me, will have uncovered some magic truths in the musical. Let me know.

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The Silly Season of steroids, moving house and the bush

It’s funny and not so funny to think that my grand daughter and I could end up taking steroids at the same time. Poor Matilda’s medicine was due to a bout of pneumonia that caused her parents some anguish, however, like the fighting girl she is ( a tough toddler) she bounced back with the help of steroids. As for me, my trip to have my left thumb scanned at radiology in Nambour caused the doctor to follow up with an injection of steroids to alleviate the inflammation and pain. A sharp, intense probing of this thin needle into my sore thumb was a new experience for me.

Prior to the jab, I sat in the waiting room in awe of this amazingly funny Christmas tree – balloons and an udderly interesting tree staring at me.

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That medical issue being dealt with, the next experience was travelling on the plane up north to visit my beautiful Matilda. Her cough was chesty but her smile adorable. I was to stay for 6 nights helping my daughter and her husband with anything they needed to do in the build up to leaving their house and town.

So armed with the start of the silly season I learnt quickly how to administer my grand daughter with her ventolin puffer while entertaining her with bubbles, play dough, books, TV and moving furniture. Here we are shifting the bedroom mattress from the room I slept in to the lounge. She was such a terrific helper.

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In the mean time, Matilda found the drawers to explore, the hose to unravel and the car to clean out. Her organised and efficient mother conquered the many lists of “to do” while allowing me as grandma to occupy the wanderer keeping her happy.

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But why does the room look so bare? What’s happening? says confused Tilly. And why is my cot not in my bedroom?

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The silly season is always about fast action, fast decisions and fast shopping. And so it is while adjusting to the instructions of my beautiful, hard working daughter I found myself moving fast from an empty house ( packers and removalists went into action) to a slower, quieter, peaceful bush, where creeks gurgle, a bull stares, a tractor sits in the shed and birds screech in the heat of summer.

Thankfully the new friend’s house where I moved to with Matilda had lovely breezes, open spaces and light flooding the house. I could begin my silly season romp.

The Christmas tree and some decorations.

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Fun playing the piano. Those steroids are definitely working.

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A big bull with big horns. Now we really are in the country. BEWARE!

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Any snakes Banjo?

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A faithful dog at the gate, Banjo loves chasing the ball. He even enjoys the babbling water down at the creek on the property. I certainly did too, after long days, testing out in my thongs the slimy stones  on the creek bed and watching the small fish dart to and fro.

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Tall gum scented trees that stretched to the blue sky, twisted metal on old gate posts and the country tractor in the musty shed and the spiky plants.

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The silly season may be full of silver tinsel and decoration, the ho,ho, ho of the Merry santa in the shop windows, but when you look closely in the bush you see other amazing things to celebrate. On my walks around the property with Matilda we found cicada shells stuck to fences, a campfire of stones and bark, limes on the ground and noisy kookaburras.

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And the cold splash of creek water on our skin. So refreshing. The bush has scents that are unique – eucalypts, wallabies, smoke, wasps, pines and limes on the tree. The bush has dusty drive ways, broken bark and biting ants. All special in their own way.

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And that serious bull always watching you from afar.

I am glad to have shared in the time with my family as they prepare to begin a new journey ahead. From the cheeky and delightful fun of games, water play and chasy to trampolining with mum, my brief sojourn was magic.

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Revealing a new country look that costs very little!