Sunday, 14 January 2018

My job

My grandson has reached an age where he will ask his daddy to call me so he can get on, he wants to share some news.

It’s either a question and a quick chat, or it's to tell me that he is disappointed.  I coo at him and talk about being happy about something that he can do or look forward to.

His latest disappointment – he can’t make films and put them on youtube.  Both parents said no.  A definite 'no' from both of them.  He knows there are rules about online spaces, and some rules are non-negotiable.

My grandson is under 10 years of age.  I haven’t posted a photo of him for years, and what made it into my social media feed was blurred or taken from the rear.

He only watches shows with permission and is only on-line when under supervision.  He is a sensitive child in some ways, robust in others. He has a great sense of humour and he is smart as a whip.  

He got the idea of filming his own shows. ‘Documents’ he called them. I twigged, he meant ‘documentaries’.

Nothing makes me happier than filming him and I am a willing camera person for our growing collection of family memories.

His subject matter for his first foray into screen time are his prized possessions. He has a lot of toys and books and things. So many things that we decided last Christmas we would stop buying him so many things. He’s given off signs for a while that the opening part of new things was fun, the playing with the item afterwards, not so much. Toys littered the floor and crammed shelves.  We started to narrow it down to, ‘what do you really love?’ and then we shop accordingly.

So his first video - I filmed it as a message for his aunty - was framed around ‘what toy had he missed out on for xmas but he would be delighted to see come from the Boxing Day sales?’

Thus came about his first short feature on the ‘Beyblade Burst Xcalius Master Kit’.  Not one of these rare and valued things could be found in any store in Adelaide on Boxing Day.  We ended up ordering it from the US and it arrived on 9 January 2018.

Ye Olde Spinnig Top

Xcalius is a very fancy version of a spinning top.  Turns out that years ago Dad made him a wooden spinning top in his shed.  It doesn't have any where near the features that grandson carefully explained on his three minute short.  We all have presents that were hand tooled in Dad’s shed.  One year it was wooden puzzles.  My sister has jewelry boxes.  I have a growing collection of wooden bowls.  We’ve now put in an order for mailboxes for correspondence with the Knee-Highs which Dad will have to get a wriggle on with as grandson may not believe there are little people living under my house for much longer.
Our first co-production, Land of the Knee-Highs, by Grandson and I

Where he got his public speaking skills from, I can only guess, but my grandson is a natural.  He is articulate, engaging and a skilled demonstrator.  What stretched my heart near to breaking point was on xmas day for the past few, he wears a elf cap.  He has no idea how cute he is in an elf’s cap.  He wears it all day and from every angle he is adorable.

Both parents were clear – ‘no youtube’ until he is a teenager, and then it is more likely to be a discussion about 'why does he want to?'  Or maybe he will work that out for himself because the pitfalls will be widely acknowledged. Maybe it just wont be cool by then.

Yes, some kids grow up to make a fortune out of it.  Well, they get older.

I knew a Vegemite kid years ago.  I can’t say he was horribly ruined by the exposure of being in a tv ad.  It may well have been a different story for him these days with the attendant bullying and grooming that is so much a part of online spaces.

I was less worried about what it would do to my grandson’s sense of self.  I can't see my grandson feeling the need to slather himself in fake tan, so five years ago, or fake ochre, so last year.  I’ll caution him against coming out as a young gun with a disruptive bent, because when those fearless interrogator’s age, they have to constantly shave a few years off to stay in the band.  Please be, he won't need to film himself, to take a good hard look at himself.  He will know with heart and mind that he is not diminished in anyway if he cares for those with less privileges than we've bestowed on him with loving attention.

We tell him to 'be kind always' and I ask a lot of questions when he tells me about his world.  He is curious and he leans in very close when we do things together.  He hugs me first and presses his face against the side of mine when we take photos.  He makes me laugh and smile and something lurches inside me when I think about him.

And when he remembers me years from now I want him to say, my nanna laughed all the time.  That’s my job.