Last night middlest and I sat on our sofa, ready to absorb another episode of IT Crowd. I passed her the obligatory packet of something chocolate and she passed back the drink that she had just removed from me. This removal is ritualistic for middlest and eldest. It begins with them seeing my drink sitting on the side. They ask me if its my drink. I say yes. They pick it up and drink some of it then put it down. I pretend to look indifferent.
This scene has graced the last ten years. No doubt there would be some intricate psychoanlaytic interpretation of this; however even with my tendency to explore, I have avoided this and just enjoyed it for what it is. Regardless of time or day for that moment we are all standing on the same point in time and we laugh.
“Its nice”, she said. She passes it back.
“Yup”, I replied, “it is isn’t it?”
“What’s in it?”, she says.
I read, “Er 36 strawberries, 2 and a half bananas”.
“Ooooh”, she says “very precise”-
“5 grapes and…. what’s this?” I say.
I squint at the teeny tiny writing on the side of the colourful bottle. “1…… Alice Pineapple……what the heck is an alice pineapple?!” I say.
“You what??!” says middlest and she looks at me. “Alice pineapple”, I repeat.
She takes back the bottle from me and holds it up, mirroring my facial squint, “alice pineapple….what even is that?” ,her voice travels up in question.
It does not occur to answer our question with a google search, instead we just sit our faces scrunched up in disbelief at the alice pineapple and its place in our (my) smoothie.
They put so much stuff in here. Middlest carries on staring at the bottle. She stops and sighs and says, “its like my list of homework – why they cant just reference the chapter we need to read and ask us to make outline of it? Why give us a list of points we need to make about the chapter- it just overcomplicates things .I just want to read something without panicking I am focusing upon the wrong thing”.
“Are you saying the smoothie is overcomplicated” I reply.
“No, just that we don’t need a bloomin’ list of ingredients like that… that we can’t even read”, she exhales.
I am not sure of the comparison, I think she might just be venting but I concur – at least with the homework issue. Teaching became more of a faff as the years went by, the focus drifting from encouraging learning to ensuring that they students ticked criteria points in the syllabus. It makes sense to want to make sure that you are covering everything but in reality it took away from just enjoying the experience of learning and the sense of well being this can instil. Too much focus on the detail caused anxiety. When you are teaching students, especially with complex needs, just achieving the former is an outcome but there is no box for that on the syllabus. Learning moved from being an experience to a process.
“….And how did they do it?..”, Middlest holds the bottle up, “Put a whole pineapple in here??”, she is exasperated now .”Maybe its a miniature.”
“Yeh, maybe; I cant believe I’ve not heard of it though” I muse.
“Alice pineapple”. I shake my head and after this delay we press play.
Eldest comes in and seeing the bottle sitting next to me walks over .I look up and he nods his head toward the bottle, “Is that your drink?”.
“Yes”, I say.
“Right”, and he picks it up and sits down on the armchair opposite.
We are watching the episode of IT Crowd where Moss sets the office on fire. We settle into the episode and as we do eldest starts to read the ingredients, “36 strawberries, two and half bananas, 5 grapes oh and a… what is that?…. oh, he squints and stares, ” 1 ….. Alice? no…. 1 slice of pineapple.
Middlest snorts and I open my mouth and make what she describes as a Minecraft potion noise.