Monday, December 22, 2008

Auntie for a day

Normally I discourage posts about kids (being a grumpy childless-by-choice crone-to-be) but, since I only see my nephew but once a year and since this tale ends up being textile related, I grant myself an exemption.

Neil lives in Northern Ireland. Last time I went he was keen to play board games. Not now he is twelve. His first question to me: "Does your phone have bluetooth connectivity?"
It does and I am now the proud possessor of a Mr Bean ringtone ("I'm ringing, I'm ringing. It's in your pocket!) and some Monster Hamster hiphop MP3s. (Actually 'Country Roads' speeded up Pinky and Perky style with some backbeat but it makes for a very good alarm tone.) I am also pleased to say that my two year old Sony clamshell phone has officially been pronounced 'cool'.

On day two of the visit he arrives at his Grans after Sunday School and comes sidling up to me. I am doing cross stitch and playing at 'how long can I put off the moment I have to go and lose at Playstation again'. (Does any adult understand what you are supposed to do on those games?) He asks sensible questions about cross stitch and gets a little explanation about how I am doing the City and Guilds course. He only rolls his eyes once when I ask if I can draw around his hand to use as a template for a fabric book inspired by Nelson Mandela. He has no idea who that is and even tolerates an explanation. Then his eyes light up as he realises he has the perfect way to get his Auntie's undivided attention.

"Blue Peter were showing how to make sock monsters," he says.
"Oh Yeah?" (See how cool Auntie can play this)
"Yeah. You sew them." (His emphasis.)

I crack under the charm pressure and send him off to get the requisite things. But we are short on cotton wool for stuffing and have to go down to the Spar to buy some. Despite the fact that at this stage my 12 year old style guru pronounced my coat 'embarrassing', the cotton wool winds up costing me £16 as mysteriously the bill includes a top up for his phone. ( This I do not regret as you will come to see later in this long tale).

We return and he spreads his equipment on the table. I eye the pristine pairs of socks. "Will Granny let you cut these up?"

"No," he says. "But if you ask she'll let you away with it."
I ask May, my cool-as-BenandJerry's- MIL. She shakes her head in a combination of despair and resignation and we are away.
"So," I say to Neil, "What were the instructions?"
He shrugs. "I don't know I didn't actually see the programme because I was in trouble with Granny and she was telling me off."
"Oh. So how do you suggest we make them then?"
He shrugs again, "I don't know. You're the one doing the course."

So, I get him to draw an impression of what a sock monster looks like. He draws an amoeba like blob with appendages and insists that it is a very different thing to a sock monkey. All he can recall is that you use the ribbing from the top of the sock to make a mouth. Ho-Kay then!

We start to figure it out and the phone rings. He says, "OK" and "cool" a lot then puts it back down.
"I am away to my friends," he says.
"What, and leaving me to do the monsters all by myself?"
"Aye. But I'll be with you in mind."

Cheeky beggar. My prototype monster was a bit ropey. The second was better. I planned to blog about it. But blogs without photos are boring. Especially when you can't see the monster. But wait! All is not lost. I know a twelve year old. A quick request for a picture message from his phone and - voila! Un sock monster.

Oh yeah and the photo of the crisps above was mostly so you'd keep reading, because I have this theory that more people read a blog post if there's a photo high up. But also its there because the other reason it cost me £16 at Spa is because Dennis asked for a multi pack of Tayto cheese and onion crisps which taste of his childhood. He meant the 6 pack. I only saw the 12 pack and decided to be kind and get two. So that's him regressing for the next month then!


Kristin L said...

Now at MY house when the kids tell me they saw something on TV but don't remember how it was made, we go straight to the great Google and find online instructions. In fact, these days, whenever they have a question I can't answer they ask "let's just Google it," or "ask Wikipedia."

BTW, it was the heel, not the ribbing:

floribunda said...

here's a great book for sock creatures inspiration:

Shasta said...

What a good auntie you are. Your sock monster looks great.

Jennifer said...

Great story -- absolutely all the elements of intergenerational interaction, ala the new century....