Sunday, 9 June 2013

The Niamh 5000

“If you get me all the equipment….I’ll do it everyday!” She’s not talking about the latest craze for 9 year olds, or hobby (possibly involving an upgrade to our medical insurance)…she’s talking about hand-washing clothes! Niamh had just come back from a thoroughly enjoyable trip to Tocal Farm Homestead, the highlight of which was washing sheets, table cloths and jeans – entirely by hand. They soaked and scrubbed them on washboards, before wringing them out with much hilarity in pairs. The final stage was hanging them on a huge washing line “which was too high to reach!” she says pointing at the diagram she’d just drawn (yes, the enthusiasm had extended to drawings of the events, possibly due to our confused expressions, we’d never seen her with so much energy describing the days’ activities.) She explained how the washing line had a special mechanism to enable the lines to be pulled down, within arms reach.

Jumping on board now, my husband and I could see the delight in her face “I think I would do all our washing if I just had one of those washboard thingys!...and then I’d wash all the neighbours clothes. Perhaps I would charge $5 for a load of washing…..” She gazed into the distance at the potential profits to be made from having such fun. So we turned the conversation to what she, as the amazing hand-washer, might call herself…."The Niamh5000”. So it will forever go down in family lore that Niamh would more than happily take on household tasks (don’t worry, we won’t exploit it!)

I thought of our influence as parents…that we need to allow our children to have fun in places we don’t expect. We need to provide them with as many experiences in life as possible, without shadowing them with our own. To remove our expectations, remove our been-there-done-that attitude or giving an air of “I know best” . Let them find out for themselves that simple everyday activities, with the right frame of mind, are much more fun than that iPod they keep asking for……

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