Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Bedtime Story 26/9/2018)

As adults, we're well aware that sometimes, life can tend to bog us down a little, with loads to do and seemingly not enough time to do it.  But we forget that it can be that way for kids too!  So, this story is all about that feeling of having a little too much to do and not enough time to do it all!

You can also choose to listen to me reading this story.

Busy Betsy

It was Sunday night and Betsy hadn't finished her homework, yet.  Usually, she liked to get it all over and done with on a Friday evening, but her grandparents had been visiting for the weekend and she simply hadn't found the time.  So, with less than an hour to go until bedtime, she found herself hurrying to get it done before she went to sleep.

"What shall we get Hermione for her birthday?"  Mum suddenly asked, interrupting Betsy's thoughts.  

Betsy looked up from her school book.  "Um...  Isn't her birthday a couple of weeks away?"

Mum shook her head.  "It's on Wednesday," she said.  "And you're going to her birthday party next Saturday, so we'll need to pop to the shops one afternoon after school."

Betsy chewed on the end of her pencil.  She'd have  to ask Hermione what she wanted for her birthday at school the next day, then go to the shops with Mum, get a present and a card, write the card, wrap the present and then think about what she was going to wear to the party.

But first, she needed to finish her homework.

Betsy decided to try not to think too much about the "to-do" list that was forming in her head.  

"Hey, Bets?"  Her brother wandered into the room.  "Remember you said you'd help me put together that new Lego model?  Well, we can do it after school tomorrow, if you like?"

Betsy looked up.  If she helped her brother tomorrow, maybe she'd have to do that, instead of going to the shops with Mum.  She let out a short sigh.  So, she'd have to ask Hermione about what she wanted for her birthday, write it down somewhere so she remembered it, help her brother with his model, go to the shops with Mum another day, get a present and a card, write the card, wrap the present and then think about what she was going to wear to Hermione's birthday party.

But first, she still needed to finish her homework.

"That's a nice picture you're drawing," Dad said, nodding at the table as he walked past.  "Did you finish making a get well card for Uncle Simon?"

Betsy's eyes widened.  She'd started a card for her uncle, who was going to hospital to have an operation, but she hadn't finished it, yet.  And his operation was in a couple of days!

She bit her lip.  Perhaps she could get his card finished tomorrow, after she'd helped her brother with his model?!  She held her head in her hands.  So, she'd have to ask Hermione about what she wanted for her birthday, write it down somewhere so she remembered it, help her brother with his model, make Uncle Simon's card, go to the shops with Mum another day, get a present and a card, write the card, wrap the present and then think about what she was going to wear to Hermione's birthday party.

And she still hadn't finished her homework.

"Are you alright, Betsy?"  Dad asked, spotting the anxious look on her face.

Betsy managed to nod and offer a feeble smile.

"Phew," Dad grinned.  "I thought you might be coming down with something.  And you don't want to get poorly right before the concert.  I heard you practising your song on the piano the other day.  It's sounding lovely!"

Betsy gulped.  Her school were having a concert to show off what everyone had been learning in their music lessons and it was happening on Tuesday night!  So, that was surely another day she couldn't go to the shops with Mum.  She took a deep breath...

So, she'd have to ask Hermione about what she wanted for her birthday, write it down somewhere so she remembered it, help her brother with his model, make Uncle Simon's card, practise for the concert, go to the shops with Mum another day, get a present and a card, write the card, wrap the present and then think about what she was going to wear to Hermione's birthday party.

And she still hadn't finished her homework.

"Betsy, you look ever so pale," Mum said, suddenly.  "Dad's right, you do look a bit like you might be coming down with something..."

"I've got too much to do!"  Betsy cried, throwing her hands into the air and scattering pencils across the table.  "There are all these little jobs I have to get finished and I'm sleepy and it's nearly bedtime and I still haven't finished my homework!"

Mum put her arm around Betsy's shoulders.  "It's alright," she told her.  "Sometimes, you have to sort things into order of importance.  Your homework is due in tomorrow, so that's the most important thing right now.  Everything else can wait."

Betsy stared up at her mum with tired eyes.  "But I still need to do all those other things..."

"That's where family and friends come in handy," Mum replied.  "If things are getting too much, you should always ask for help!"

"You don't have to help me with my model, if you have other stuff to do," her brother said.  "Or I can help you with Uncle Simon's card?  We'll get it done quicker if we work together and maybe there will be time to get the model done, too!"

Dad nodded.  "And remember, some of the jobs you have to do are fun!  Choosing an outfit for Hermione's party, for example.  Try not to worry about things like that, just enjoy them.  And if you really can't enjoy them, because of all the other things you've got going on, it's okay to take some time for yourself and worry about everything else later."

Betsy felt her shoulders slowly getting lighter.  "Thanks."

Mum glanced at the clock.  "Ready for bed?"  

Betsy chuckled.  "Well, in a minute," she smiled.  "I'm feeling much better about all the jobs I've got to do this week and I'm excited for Hermione's party, but I can't go to bed just yet."

"Why not?"  Mum asked.

Betsy grinned.  "Because I've still got to finish my homework..."


Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Bedtime Story (19/9/2018)

Having to wear a uniform was always something I hated at school and it's something I dislike about my job, too.  I am someone who wants to embrace individuality, so this story is my own small way of doing just that!

You can also listen to this story as a podcast.

"I Don't Want To Wear School Uniform!"

Matthew would not take off his pyjamas.  He sat down on his bedroom floor and refused to budge.  "I"m not wearing it!"

Mum rolled her eyes.  "You haven't got a choice," she explained.  "It's your school uniform."

Matthew folded his arms across his chest and shook his head from side to side.  "I want to wear my dinosaur t-shirt."

Mum strolled to the chest of drawers and took the t-shirt out.  "Maybe you could wear this under your school shirt?"

"Then nobody would see it!"  Matthew protested.  "I want to wear my dinosaur t-shirt, my blue jeans, my light-up trainers and the baseball cap Uncle Darren got me from Florida."

Mum took a long, deep breath and stared at the ceiling for a moment.  "Matthew, you are going to be late for school.  You'll get into trouble!"

Matthew's eyes widened.  "Oh, I should wear my "Here Comes Trouble" hoodie, then!"  He declared, rushing to the wardrobe and throwing open the doors.

"You can wear your hoodie over your uniform whilst we walk to school," Mum told him.  "But you can't wear it all day.  You have to wear the same as everyone else!"

Matthew stuck out his lower lip.  "But that's boring.  I don't want to look the same as everyone else!"  He rummaged through the wardrobe and tugged out a shirt, patterned with bulldogs.  "I want to stand out!"  He cried, thrusting the shirt at his mother.

"But you do stand out," Mum insisted, throwing her arms into the air.  "You're the only boy with red hair in your class!  You have more freckles than anyone else!"

Matthew shook his head.  "But they don't say anything about me," he huffed.  "If I wear my own clothes, I'll be properly different to everyone else, won't I?!"  He grabbed a jumper out of the wardrobe and held it up.  "See, this jumper was knitted by Gran!  And it has a lightning bolt on it.  That's really cool!"

"It is cool," Mum agreed, nervously checking her watch.  "But you can't wear it to school.  Now, get your uniform on and..."

"I want to wear the shorts I got on holiday," Matthew said, suddenly.  "You know, the ones with the sharks on?!"

Mum clapped a hand to her forehead.  "Well you can't," she snapped.  "You have to wear your uniform like everyone else!"

"But I'm not like everyone else," Matthew replied, sounding just as frustrated as Mum was.  "I'm me.  And I don't feel like me when I'm dressed exactly the same as all the kids in my class.  It's not fair!"

Mum sank onto the bedroom floor, cradling Matthew's school uniform in her hands.  "It doesn't matter what you wear," she told him.  "You are you.  What you look like isn't what makes you stand out, Matthew."

Matthew frowned.  "But if you look at my school photograph, you can't tell anything different about anyone," he told her.  "We all just look the same."

"You're all dressed the same," Mum agreed.  "But that doesn't make you the same as people, does it?  It's what's inside that makes you all different.  It's what kind of people you are that makes you all stand out!"  She managed a smile, in spite of her worry that they were now running seriously late.  "You stand out because you make people laugh.  You stand out because you're friendly and kind."  She stood up and crossed the room, picking up Matthew's school photo.  "Your friend Rebecca stands out because she's brave and feisty," she added.  "And Harvey stands out because he's clever and brilliant at sports."  She put the picture down.  "You are all different, even if you're dressed the same."

Matthew's expression softened.  "But... You still can't tell by looking, can you?"

Mum laughed.  "Do you really think just wearing a knitted jumper with a lightning bolt on it will tell people everything they need to know about you?"  She shook her head.  "We have to talk to each other.  Find out what makes a person tick.  People are much more than what they look like, Matthew."

Matthew sighed and took his school uniform from his mum.  "I suppose I'll just have to wear this, like everyone else then," he said.  "But Mum?"

Mum held her breath, wondering what on Earth he was going to say next...

"Can I really wear my dinosaur t-shirt underneath my school shirt?"

Mum laughed.  "Of course," she told him.

And with that, one little boy who was definitely not the same as all his classmates, hurried off to get dressed.


Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Bedtime Story (12/9/2018)

I am, as it turns out, fairly rubbish at painting.  However, I do enjoy it!  So, this story is dedicated to every creative person out there, no matter what their skill level!

To listen to this story as a podcast, please click here!

"I Love Painting!"

The sun was shining, the weekend had finally arrived and Max wanted to rush straight down to the park to play football.  Elliot had his skateboard tucked under his arm, ready to try out some new tricks.  Leila wanted to try flying the new drone she'd just gotten for her birthday.  And Annie?

Well, Annie wasn't going.

Whilst her brothers and sister were tugging on coats and hurrying to the door, Annie was quietly fetching her paints, brushes and sketchbook.

"How come you paint all the time?"  Elliot asked, pulling a face.

"Because I love painting," Annie, the youngest in her family, replied.  

Max put down his football and crossed the room, to where Annie was setting up her things.  He nodded down at the pictures in Annie's sketchbook.  "You're good at painting," he told her.  "But don't you want to come to the park with us?"

Annie thought for a second.  "Can I bring my paints?"

Leila joined them, hugging her new drone close to her chest.  "You could sit at a picnic table and do some painting?"  She suggested.  "That way, you can still paint, but you get to come and play with us, too!"

After a short pause, Annie agreed.  Her brothers and sister still weren't quite sure why she needed to bring her paints to the park, but they were pleased she was joining them.  They didn't want her to feel left out, after all.

The park was busy and it took them a while to find an empty picnic table, for Annie to sit at.  "I'll stay close," Leila assured her.  "In case you need me for anything."

But Annie was perfectly happy by herself.  She had everything she needed.  She opened up her sketchbook, found a clean page and dipped her paintbrush into the pot of water Mum had given her to take to the park, before selecting a colour to use.  Slowly, she let her paintbrush glide across the page, leaving a streak of colour in its wake.  She could hear the shrieks of children playing on the park equipment, or kicking a ball around on the grass, but it all seemed to float over her head.  Annie was in her own little world.  A world of colour, shapes and imagination.  A world in which she could create anything she wanted!

A few times, Max, Elliot and Leila asked if she was alright, or whether she wanted to join in with what they were doing.  But Annie was happiest exactly where she was.

She barely noticed the time passing by.  It took her by surprise when Max came running over to say he was getting hungry and they ought to think about heading home for lunch.  Annie glanced up from her sketchbook and gave her brother a smile.  "Okay," she began, as Elliot and Leila came scurrying over to join them.  But before she could close the book, Max had pointed down at the picture Annie had been working on.

"Is that Leila?"

Annie nodded, glancing at her painting.  She pointed to a small, black and yellow object in the sky.  "That's the drone," she explained.  "It's not very good, but it's supposed to look blurry, because it was flying so fast."

Leila leaned in to look, a wide grin on her face.  "And there's Elliot on his skateboard," she chuckled.  "Look, see?  Next to the tree?"

Elliot beamed.  "Hey, Max, you're in the painting, too!  You're in the background, doing keepy-uppies!"

"This is really cool," Max told his sister.  "It's like having a little snapshot of the trip to the park, to remember it by!"

Annie smiled.  "I like painting what I see in front of me, sometimes," she explained.  "And it is like taking a picture.  I look back at what I painted and I remember where we were and what we were doing."  She flicked through the sketchbook, pointing at paintings of her family and friends.

"Is that why you like painting, so much?"  Elliot asked.

Annie shrugged.  "Why do you like skateboarding so much?"  She asked in reply.

Elliot paused.  "I...  There's more than one reason, really," he said.

Annie smiled back at him.  "And there's lots and lots of different reasons I like painting so much.  Sometimes, I like to paint things I see in front of me, or paint things I remember happening, so I have a memory of them.  And sometimes I like to use my imagination and paint things I've made up in my mind.  But whatever I paint, just mixing the colours and creating the picture on the page makes me feel really happy."  She glanced at her brothers and sister.  "Just like skateboarding makes you happy, football makes Max happy and messing about with remote controlled cars and drones and stuff makes Leila happy."

"I guess when you say it like that, we've all got different things that we enjoy, haven't we?"  Leila said.  "And those things are part of what makes us who we are!"

Max put his football down, beneath the picnic bench.  "Annie...  Can I do a painting?"

Annie gently tore out a page from her sketchbook.  "Of course," she said.  "But...  I thought you wanted to go home for lunch?"

Max grinned.  "Maybe I'll paint a picture of what I'd like to eat?"

"I think I'd like to paint a picture as well," Leila announced, placing her drone on the table and taking a seat beside Max.  "I could paint the world from above.  Try imagining what the park looks like to the drone, when it's flying through the sky!"

Elliot dropped his skateboard and sat down next to Annie.  "I'm going to paint a picture of you," he told her.  "To remember that you're the one who taught us that we all like different things, but that that's okay, and we can still be friends and try to share those things, sometimes."

Annie beamed as she handed out paintbrushes and pages from the sketchbook.  She was more than happy to let her brothers and sister enter her little world.

And as the sun continued to shine down, all four got to work, creating memories, letting their imaginations fly and losing themselves in a world of colour.


Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Bedtime Story (5/9/2018)

This week, lots of little ones are starting school.  So, I thought I'd write a story about it!

As ever, this story is also available to listen to as a podcast.

"What Will School Be Like?!"

Tilly had one more sleep
Before she started school.
She wondered just how it would be?
Would there be lots of rules?
Would she like her teacher,
Would she make a lot of friends?
Would she have fun or dread the homework
When the day came to an end?

Tilly had her uniform
All laid out for the next day.
She wondered if she'd keep it clean,
Or get it dirty as she played?
Would she get in trouble
If she spilled things down her shirt?
Would she be comfortable
In her brand new shoes and skirt?

Tilly had a new lunch box,
She'd eat from every day.
She wondered who she'd sit next to?
Who'd go out with her to play?
Would it be noisy in the hall,
When they all ate lunch, together?
Would she have to go outside
Even in rainy weather?

Tilly had many questions
Swimming round her head.
She thought of books and teachers,
Maths and PE as she lay in bed.
She wondered if the school day
Would make her very tired?
Or would she come back home
Excited and inspired?!

Tilly had one way to find out,
She'd just have to go to school!
Learning lots of brand new things
Did sound pretty cool.
She'd find out just what school was like
When she went there, in the morning.
But first she knew she had to sleep,
So Tilly was soon snoring.

Tilly had her bag all packed
Bright and early the next day.
And before her breakfast was finished,
She wanted to be on her way!
The sound of laughter greeted her
As she walked into the playground.
And she spotted her friends from nursery,
Waving as she looked round.

Tilly had to listen out
For the ringing of the bell.
That told her school had started,
And she hoped it would go well!
She beamed and gave her mum a hug,
Using that hug as fuel,
Which would keep her safe and strong all day:
Her first day at big school!