Today, i am Uncle Julian and it’s great. Admittedly, it’s just an honorific title, as Ed is the son of some very old friends, but it still counts. And yesterday i saved the day.
Well, when i say the day, i mean that small portion of it after the day has ended for a three year old, but before the evening has started for the adults, and i saved it with the iPad and some photos of Gypsy, my boat.
It had been an exciting day really, a trip to the zoo, playing on the beach and, best of all, a giant beanbag to jump on in the lounge. All in all, Ed saw no reason for the day to end. So various techniques to coax and cajole him towards his bed all failed.
Eventually, in desperation, i asked him if he wanted to see my boat as i had photos on the iPad. This caused a spark of interest, which was followed by us creating a story around the photos. Admittedly a story that involved more pirates and adventures than i actually recall (and slightly more sailing prowess on my part than may be strictly true), but nonetheless a good story.
The funny thing about children is that you feel a bit closer to the process of learning. As we looked at the boat, the questions came flooding out. What is that? A sail. Why does it have a number? So she knows how old she is. Why is Cath wet? Because you have to launch the boat then climb in. Where is your lunch? And so on.
You can also gauge engagement more easily with children: they either have it or they don’t!
As an occasional Uncle, these moments are rare for me, but the sense of achievement when you find yourself engaged in learning are lovely. Makes me feel worthy of the title.