I sent the two pictures that head this blog home to my family. I do this sometimes so that my Dad can see what I get up to at work. He can see that despite the hard work it is also a lot of fun!
As I related what had been going on, told the story behind the pictures I realised it is quite a jolly story, something to be posted here.
For many years now, I think it all started when Laddo was about seven and I was forty, I have asked my young and no longer quite so young clients, while they are lying down how old they are. Once they have replied I suggest that this is the number of times they could sit up from lying, touch their toes and lie flat on their backs again using whatever assistance they need to do this.
It never takes them long before they ask, just as Laddo asked so long ago now:
“And how old are you?”
It has become tradition now when I work with Laddo, that since he can do his sitting up and toe touching alone I try to do mine at the same time as he does his. I try desperately hard to finish before he does. Sometimes he is laughing so much he makes it very easy for me mostly these days it is a dead heat. I wonder how long it will be before he takes over the championship!
I am still managing to come in first, but it is getting to be a close call the fitter he gets and the older I get!
Since I have been working with the school children they rise to the same challenge. But they caught on quite quickly to another trick. When I ask them how old they are they have started to answer one year old or three-years old, the age they choose depending on how daring they are feeling on that day and maybe how tired they are!
Sometimes I relent and believe them, mostly they are happy to do their quota if they know that afterwards I will do mine.
My quota actually takes quite a long time if I do it after the children have finished with the assistance that they need so they decided to make it apart of their programme.
We decide if it a long-legged-sitting-practice time or a stretching-arms-practice time and then we get on with it. The children count in English and hold on tight to my feet either as in the pictures with their hands or putting their legs over mine and trying their hardest not to tip over.
For the counting they have five coloured buttons to count off the five lots of ten. They can only get up to ten in English without getting in a muddle so we make it a bit easier for them.
Their pronunciation is brilliant, I enjoy watching them intent and concentrated, and I enjoy listening to a littlie with athetoid cerebral palsy say a perfect three. Her tongue perfectly placed for pronouncing a TH!
The press down on my legs grasping tight, stretching their arms or legs, whatever is required. They really do make my job easier. They watch my face intently just as I am watching them. Whether they are looking for signs of exhaustion of for help with the counting I do not know, I just enjoy the few minutes of close scrutiny on both sides.
Occasionally they forget their task in hand. When this happens I get a quick rest while their positions get corrected and off we go again.
This whole routine keeps me fit and motivates the children, despite their earlier protest of:
“But today I am only two years old!”, they do their seven or eight anyway.
When my young colleague first witnessed this routine she almost collapsed with laughter, that was until she was asked:
“And how old are you, Évi?”
Now she gets her feet held sometimes although they think she is young enough to be doing it all alone.
It will be wash-board tummies all round this time next year!