“Parents of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your plastic crap and credit card bills!” as Marx might, I suppose, have said, had he lived in the time of Toys R Us and the Tweenies.
I hadn’t even seen part 2 of Caine’s Arcade when I posted the first video about Caine on Friday. But then Alison pointed it out, saying she’d found it after crying over the Part 1 video that I’d embedded so I went to seek it out and… well… my eyes may have moistened a little.
I’m taking that as a sign that spring and hay fever are finally on their way and not as evidence that I cry at everything since becoming a mother, a bloody car commercial can set me off these days (why do they always have to bring in the string section and the kids in their little car seats looking all small and sweet and OH GOD they’re going to grow up so fast and become vile and after that probably move to the other side of the Earth and forget to even send their loving parents Christmas cards.)
Anyway. Alison was right. This one IS amazing and not just because Jack Black is in it. It’s the grainy home video of all the other kids around the world. Their goofy, gappy-toothed pride as they grin over their wonky cardboard creations, inspired by Caine.
So whether Marx is actually spinning in his leafy Highgate grave over the Tweenies or not, I’m saying it to you now: comrades, parents, carers… lend me your ears (bit Julius Caesar, I know, but since we’re plagarising)
Let’s throw down our plastic shackles (even if you only want to do it for the day) and join the cardboard revolution. The second Global Cardboard Challenge is happening on October 5 this year. Last year, there were over 270 events in 41 countries celebrating children’s creativity and the spirit of community.
Our community might be based around IP addresses rather than postcodes, but so what? It’s still pretty strong. Let’s do something.
Maybe we can get together in ‘real life’ and build a massive cardboard city with all our kids. Or maybe we can plot a way to join our efforts together online. We’ve got plenty of time to think about it. But put the date in your diary. Drop me a line with suggestions or some signal of general enthusiasm. And I’ll plot something around everyone’s availability.
I first met Stephanie at an event organised by the wonderful Jenny Scott of Mothers Meetings (more on her later).
Stephanie is a nutritional therapist, founder of Nourish to Flourish, and a mother too. She’s read the research on food and had their contents vomited back over her by babies. So yeah – the perfect expert. She’s also adviser to Betsy’s Mum, a really exciting new project promoting healthy and fun eating for children and adults.
I wanted Stephanie’s advice. Though I know, broadly, what’s healthy and what Johnny needs, I was worried that there were certain foods that I feed myself that might not be good for sharing with small people.
I’m not talking Gin and Tonic, kettle crisps, triple expressos or the odd Vimto vodka. I mean the subtler stuff. Foods that might look healthy enough on the surface, but that actually have some hidden nasties that small bodies can’t handle.
I don’t have the time to make my own sausages and I don’t have the skills to decode the numbers, codes and latin in the ingredients. So, embarrassingly enough, I guess my shopping decision come down, in the end to… the ‘look’ of them. You know… Is the packet in a nice, Farrow and Ball, organic-looking green? How ‘happy’ do the pigs in the illustration look? Does it have the word ‘farm’ or even better ‘family farm’ on it? Then in the basket with it, before the kid tips over another baked-bean-tin-pyramid.
Luckily, Stephanie has agreed to contribute a series of posts on the blog: foods to watch out for. She reads the latin so you don’t have to. And it starts here. The next words you will read will be Stephanie’s. Over to you, S…