This is Helena following one of her passions -Nursery rhymes! I don’t get it. Why couldn’t she choose song lyrics? Or poetry…. or like a friend learn the entirety of Spike Milligan reading Bad Jelly the Witch by listening to it on a kids radio show- seriously impressive. This nursery rhyme passion has been going on and on for months now. She has a particular kids CD she listens to at night, every night. Occasionally we will try others but she always comes back to the alphabet CD with it’s collection of sung nursery rhymes. I don’t know when but she started learning them off by heart, to stop herself going to sleep? perhaps. She can recite the whole of The owl and the pussy cat. But that’s only the beginning. She plays a game where you say a letter or subject and she comes up with as many nursery rhymes as she can. She doesn’t learn them to impress anyone, she doesn’t want me to test her to impress me but as feedback to her to see if she knows them. She isn’t learning them to recite to others on the stage. When she is somewhere new she seeks out any nursery rhyme books, she rates them and makes conscious efforts to memorise new nursery rhymes, discusses any differeces at length. She is even interested in their history. Weird.
My Gran always felt that kids should be able to recite a poem – she came from an era of providing your own entertainment and party pieces. I can’t remember anything but when Helena spouts one of her many nursery rhymes (that I don’t think I sang to her) I often know it. It is a skill to train yourself to memorise things and she is working on it big time. Ideally for her there would be more nursery rhymes with rats and mice as the central characters. I am leaving her to it but I am guilty of asking her why couldn’t she learn something more interesting, or “better” to which she confidentially ignored as a crazy statement. Helena has totally taken on board being the one who chooses her learning interests and passions to the point that I really have to justify anything I think is important. I have concurred with that and have come around to aiding (getting library books) and abetting (the crime of lack of taste) the nursery rhyme fixation. What say Helena wasn’t that confident? or I was an authority figure?
Children often have passions that are hard to see the point of, seem to come from nowhere, passions that are hard to develop enthusiasm for, hard to see the utility of. There are definitely a group of passions that are more acceptable, like music, dancing, sport, formal making (knitting rather than cardboard creations), or perhaps more common like vehicles or animals (especially dinosaurs). It seems some passions are a passing fancy where as others can be obsessive or intractable (like the kid who has to wear a certain costume all day everywhere). What about kids who seem to have no passions? It’s a hard path adulting I have already had to realise my snobbery but I also don’t want to go the other way and accidentally take over, turn her passion into a vehicle for my more worthy ideas.
I don’t know what her friends will think of her Nursery rhyme themed birthday party however I suspect that this interest is too important to be discouraged by others… and I have to go design quilts I will never make!