IN THE REAL NIGHT GARDEN

06 of June 2010

In the Night Garden is an extremely popular pre-school television programme, with intriguing characters.  But do they have any real-life parallels, and is there a hidden message behind the show’s well-loved personalities?

Extract:
Lush gardens, an exciting and efficient transport system¸ vibrant scenes, and welcoming residents speaking a strange language – no, I’m not talking about an exotic holiday, but the wonderful world of In the Night Garden…, arguably one of the most popular TV programmes for babies currently on air.  Cleverly slotted into the ‘pre-bedtime’ slot (i.e. 6pm on CBeebies), it’s a fantastical dream world visited each night by one of the characters, Iggle Piggle, once he falls asleep in his boat.
Many babies become fascinated by the consistent format (each day a story is acted out, and then re-told at the end as drawings before all the characters are shown going to bed), strange, repetitive character sounds, and friendly narrator (Derek Jacobi no less) but numerous ‘theories’ float around about the real message behind the characters.  From aliens to immigrants, many adults watching this programme with their children have come up with amusing suspicions. […]
© Rebecca Strong 2009

First published in the NCT Magazine, Small Talk, Winter 2009

I questioned some parents about how and when they decided to increase the size of their families, with some interesting results!  Taking into consideration financial aspects, living arrangements, the environment, age gaps, pregnancy/birth experiences and relationships amongst other factors, how do parents decide whether that want an addition to their family?

Extract:
So, somehow, you’ve got through the pregnancy, childbirth, sleepless nights, copious nappy changes, various ailments, weaning and perhaps even the crawling, toddling and potty training, and then you think, ‘shall we do it again?’ It’s a question that must surface for all parents at some point (whether the answer is ‘yes’, ‘no’ or ‘whoops, too late!’) and one that my friends and I have recently been discussing.
With the subject also coming up frequently among friends in my NCT coffee group, I was curious to find out how and when other people had decided to add to their families. I thought of various factors that might be considered during the decision-making process, and questioned some other NCT mothers about which were important to them. […]
© Rebecca Strong 2009

First published in the NCT Magazine, Small Talk, Autumn 2009

LIFE AS A NEWBORN PARENT

06 of June 2010

Rebecca reflects on becoming a mother

Rebecca reflects on becoming a mother

What is it really like to become a parent?  Is nine months of pregnancy, reading books, and talking to other parents enough to prepare you for this immense responsibility?  I examine my own experiences of not only welcoming a child, but taking on an entirely new role that I wasn’t as prepared for as I might have thought.

Extract:
They say there’s never a “right” time to have a baby.  I wanted children for as long as I could remember – I had an imaginary daughter when I was little, instead of an imaginary friend – but was determined never to rush into it. Having been married for three years, my husband and I decided we were emotionally, financially and practically ready to take on the responsibility, and were delighted to fall pregnant sooner rather than later.  During my pregnancy I thought of little other than the positive impact this new life was already having on us.  I read books about what to expect, listened to the advice of other parents, and thought long and hard about how this little person would be. Nine months can seem such a long time to wait to meet your baby, but now I know that no amount of time, literature or thought could ever really prepare you for the immense change to your life your first child will bring.  […]
© Rebecca Strong 2009

First published in the NCT Magazine, Small Talk, Spring 2009

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