BLOG 7 - diary of an alt- pop mother
I sit in the cool of the arts and craft room at my laptop - a rare moment of working while the children play. I usually just come to these groups without a means (or plan) to work and even though I like talking to the friends I have made in this home educating community - I also feel a little like I need to be elsewhere, on an unnerving semi regular basis. It comes like a flow, washing through both Ben and I and out again, cyclically, and one day that wave will be strong enough that it will push us far up past the shore and into the school office. To try the ‘other’ way.
I can hear the swathe of non schooled children playing outside on the adventure playground …you are possibly at this point imagining it’s all mismatched hippy clothes with rainbow leggings and un-brushed hair but as is typical of London there is actually a great and varied array of ‘types’ of people trying to do this way of schooling their children.
The playground itself is old skool style with risky bits. Ropes to swing themselves on, gaps to jump across, bridges to run across, high ladders to climb - trying out what they find interesting, where their skills lie and what works for them.
Similar to our arty life really and our own personal home schooling style.
I feel good today. Because I had a meeting, about a gig. About a gig that we can make our own, in our style and be excited to tell people about. It really does feel good doing your to do list. I had a sneaky suspicion it might - that my way of going about life needs a tiny bit of tweaking to feel SO much better about.
THIS is better. Play and work together! I like killing two birds with one stone!
Lately I’ve not thought an artistic life actually suits me after all.
That I can’t actually hack it.
I think mostly it’s because you are constantly re-inventing your days, your art, yourself. I’ve done it so long now and yet it is still so challenging. I left home at 14 (well my home left me - my family lived in a motorhome - it literally drove away.)
I wanted - from that point onwards - to sing my own songs in a band. So I let myself be blown by the wind in that direction - following whatever leads to wherever - not letting anything get too in the way - through theatre, community art projects with troubled teenagers , music therapy with the disabled, a spot of supermarket shelf filling… to finally find someone to start a proper band with five years later, at age19. So…it’s been a long time basically, of making up almost every day, afresh.
A little girl just came in to say hello to me, keen to know what I am doing. I said I’m writing a music blog, and it’s also about being a mum. Her eyes lit up
"Oh! Do you teach your kids music?"
"well not exactly, we have the instruments around and they play them, but yes, my daughter has taught herself to read music too by asking her dad to help”.
"I can play the piano but I’m not very good" she says "I’m trying to make up my own songs."
"Oh yes my daughter does that too"
She then says
"I played Beethoven’s symphony no 9. once but couldn’t get the end right” (!!)
(ah rrright, out of MY league then.)
She is a gorgeous looking child of Jamaican descent, wearing cool clothes, donning cool hair that can go into cool styles unlike my boring brown, fine white-girl hair of which plastic baubles just plain fall out.
"Bye" she says trottling back off outside.
Just back from playing pool with my son (10) - he was a bit at a loss as what to do next ‘cos he was bored of kicking balls and climbing etc so I beat him at pool, like every good mother should. My years of pub gigs paying off.
Hmm. Probably should go soon ‘cos it’s a long bus ride home with unbelievably noisy high-school students if we don’t hurry.
Last week coming back from this same group my 8yr old daughter had in fact been chatting to me about piano. About lessons and teaching yourself and making up songs on the piano and she asked me if I could read music. I said I couldn’t… but maybe… I ventured….you could teach me?
She said gladly “Yes, ok!… ANY time”.
I thought that was gorgeous, she seemed to be so pleased to be able to offer ME something.
I like that the teacher and the student is always a shifting thing, with parenting. Right from my babies births it has been like this. Their humour, their affection, their mere existence teaching me, teaching them, how to be better, more controlled humans. Forcing me to try to laugh more, let go quicker, start again. The biggest lesson I could probably learn from them is to not be in such a hurry. I do stop to smell the roses, literally, but that is as far as I have managed to take that line of living - I still carry so much “in a hurry” angst. It is they that notice the tiny amazing insects on the ground way down on the grass, the cool fence to climb on, rocks to collect , the stick that answers all my sons needs.
Although I do remember following his lead when he was a toddler on our way home from the shops and it took us about an hour. The shop was only three blocks away.
I guess the moral of the story ( heck let’s go trad storytelling here) is:
“with kids - things are slooow”.
In so many ways.
But finding the sneaky ways within this reality, is fun and fruitful.
"KIDS! WE’RE GOING! GRAB YOUR JUMPERS AND SCOOTERS - LET’S GO! QUIIIIIIIIICK! "
It was nothing short of a miracle.
We did not miss the bus.
By day - I watch - as the creativity …
and the discovering… unfolds
By night - I am an Indie Pop Queen . xx he he
The GIG I am excitedly referring to in this blog - August 9th. London.