Something that may have been obvious to others, but that I have only recently realised, is that having a child allows, no, compels you to remember/re-live aspects of your own childhood. So many things long forgotten, it is a bittersweet experience to recall what caused you great fear or joy as a child. My son has recently had a few difficult nights, and we’ve been talking about dreams. I still remember quite vividly two of the nightmares I had as a child that distressed me greatly. In one, my mother delivered my brother and I to a wicked witch, who put us in a cage (a la Hansel & Gretel). I can still see the image of my mother walking away as I cried out. (No, I did not have abnormally cruel parents!) This is obviously a fear of abandonment which must be a basic fear of many young children, when their parents are their whole world. It makes me mindful of letting my child know that I love him and will always be there for him, even if we have difficult, angry times together.
On a happier note, having children makes you want to share with them the things that filled you with wonder when you were a child. I always enjoyed books and had a lot of the Little Golden Book or standard fairy tale type of books. But one book was special, and I remember poring over it for ages and immersing myself in it, such a vivid and imaginative world did it portray. It was one of the Orlando the Marmalade Cat books by Kathleen Hale, and I’m not sure what happened to it. I have occasionally looked for her books in secondhand shops when I think of it, and have purchased a couple of recently re-issued editions on-line. But the other day I actually found this one in my local secondhand bookshop, probably the same edition as I had as a child! It is so different to books today, yes, dated and even non-“P.C.”, but incredibly eccentric and fanciful. Rex has shown an interest in these books already as bed-time books, and I hope that they may continue to delight him with their charm and whimsy.
The books were written and illustrated during the 1930’s-70’s, and the illustrations have the look and colours of 1930’s lithographs. And in case you were wondering, “The Frisky Housewife” is a department store that Orlando and his family opens and runs, as
“It’s high time”, said Orlando indignantly, “that shops sold what people want to buy, instead of what the shops want to sell…”