I do miss Sesame Street. We used to watch every lunchtime; me in the corner of the Klippan sofa, lunch balanced on the armrest (I think it only fell off once or twice), Daughter on my lap and Son nestled next to me.
Presumably we moved away from it gradually, or school got in the way. I can’t recall. And when I woke up missing it, I couldn’t find it anywhere. I have been thinking about Sesame Street on and off over the years, trying to convince myself I’m too old for it. That I don’t need it.
But when I read about their new autistic character, I was seized by a strong wish to start watching again. This time I researched a bit more. And it is on, but only on some pay channel I’d never heard of and that I can’t get. I mean, I suppose I can, but we don’t believe in paying for parcels of programmes that will rarely if ever be watched.
So I’m feeling a bit disappointed, to be honest.
I’m wondering, too, how it ended up on a pay channel. Is it because it is so valuable that you must pay, like for new movies and sports events, or is it because it’s so uninteresting that none of the regular channels could be bothered? Had a quick look at a typical day on CBBC and it was dire. I used to enjoy watching after school. Not everything, but quite a lot, and would have to drag myself off to cook dinner. Mornings were also good, but I could rarely fit in more than a minute here and there as we were getting ready to leave the house.
Whereas I’d actually sit down for Sesame Street. ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ…
I’ve been known to cry myself, to ‘get what I need.’ By that I don’t mean I set out to cry my way to satisfaction in every situation. But I was struck by Victoria Coren Mitchell’s tale in the Guardian of crying over 5o tiny tambourines.
(I don’t believe this has anything to do with books. But there’s something touching about weeping over tambourines. Especially if they are tiny.)
Victoria’s sudden idea of buying 50 tambourines as a statement gift not to be forgotten, is one I sympathise with. I once bought 30 sets of sturdy colouring pencils from ‘Early Learly’ (that’s how we referred to the Early Learning Centre) just so Son could hang on to his without them being borrowed. They were good pencils, which is why I’d got them for him to use at secondary school in the first place, and which is why his fellow class mates always needed to ‘borrow’ them.
Without thinking [much] I decided to give every child in his form their own set.
That was no easy task. We were able to buy a few sets in one shop and another few from some other branch of the ELC, and by the time we’d got all 30 we’d cleaned out South Manchester. But it certainly worked as a statement gift. The form teacher was astounded and the children remembered, long after I’d forgotten.
But at least I didn’t cry over them.
I did when the locum GP refused to admit Daughter to hospital once (and then it turned out it was because he didn’t know the procedure, and he’d rather pretend she wasn’t ill).
And now we have to cry to get anywhere with customer services, everywhere. It shouldn’t have to be like that. Not caring about their customers, as Victoria says, ‘exposes the relentless grind of the emotionless, profit-hungry machine. It’s frightening and alienating. It’s what happened with United Airlines and the injured doctor. If you empathise and apologise, it makes people feel less lost in that machine. It’s a really good thing to do. You should be proud, not reluctant, to say sorry; that’s your act of humanity. It doesn’t reduce your standing, any more than it reduces the standing of a skilled librarian to lead a roomful of toddlers in song.’
This is why I shop much less these days.
And I’m sorry for my bookless post.
The Resident IT Consultant had to explain to the garage that next Friday Scottish school pupils sit their Maths exam. And he needs his car, so that his little group of hopefuls don’t fail, simply because the garage ordered the wrong part.
In the last few weeks he’s taken on a ridiculous amount of Maths tuition sessions, with old and new students. If it was going to go on for much longer I would not have allowed it, but felt he could cope with the pace for now. We just didn’t reckon with the car feeling unwell. Or the wrong part.
Getting a tutor for your child – or for yourself if you are a university student – is [mostly] proof that you want to do well, and that in itself is an encouraging thing. Often those who do don’t really need a tutor. They need confidence, and exam techniques. Some erroneously believe that finding the tutor will absolve them from having to do work, but they don’t tend to last long. You still need to work on your Maths, and you still need to sit the exam.
Since we live in a smallish town, several of the students live some distance away, so have to have ‘double Maths’ to make the drive there worthwhile. And to do that, the car needs to work. Being stranded in some attractive, but remote, spot isn’t ideal.
The garage could see his point, and promised the Resident IT Consultant a courtesy car in case the right part didn’t turn up the next day.
(Yes, I could lend him the broom, but you should see the amount of paperwork he carries around.)
It was easier than the time I carried a Christmas tree round St Andrews, eventually taking refuge in a bar while I waited for Daughter to come and take the tree off my hands. This time I merely carried her forgotten boots, but nevertheless I took refuge in the same bar as I waited for her to come and take the boots off my hands. One has to have traditions.
Those of you who are awake right now might recall that Daughter has left St Andrews. But there are conferences and things, and this was one such thing, for which the boots were required. And what are parents for, but to carry, deliver and generally help? Today, as you read this, we are in Edinburgh, collecting the same boots, because their usefulness is over. Until next time.
Uncharacteristically for the young, she invited me to come and hear her talk, which meant that after the boot-handover we trudged to the university department where she spent four years and that I occasionally visited. There were a lot of men! St Andrews is odd in that the ratio of female to male students at the Physics department is unusually equal. Hence my reaction to seeing so many men. But that’s conferences for you.
I had mock-threatened to ‘speak to her teacher’ but had no intention of being that embarrassing. In the end it was the teacher (one of them) who spoke to me because she recognised me. Did I visit too often?
I was also introduced to one of the conference organisers, who is a ‘fan of mine on facebook.’ Seems I’m funny. Well, we knew that. Besides, having a parent at a conference is cute… Apparently.
The talk was good. I almost understood it. But then, star spots are ‘easier’ than the white dwarfs which preceded them. We had the pleasure of hearing the professor exclaim ‘what was the question?’ and I discovered that the chap in front of me has a bank balance of just over £2000.