we are not alone

So it’s been one of those weeks.

The one where everyone is an ugly mess of a stomach virus. Oh, THAT’S diarrhoea. All those other times? Those were more of modern parenting, I don’t want to touch that, you clean it mess. This week? Good lord, I’ll just stop.

There there were the complete melt downs. I don’t like this banana. I want THAT banana. Why did you push the (crosswalk) button? I want to push the button! Whyyyyyy (melting on the ground) I want to push the button!!

Yet out of all this madness (and this is the light version), there is a glimmer of kindness. An elderly man shuffling along on the bus held Ankle biter 1’s hand as we alighted. And then he joked, “You can’t follow me home.” Shimmers of friendliness that makes this week bearable.

And with this, I’m happy to introduce this jewel of a book: Mr Tweed’s Good Deeds by Jim Stoten. Mr Tweeds ventures into his neighbourhood and encounters several neighbours who require some assistance finding cherished yet misplaced objects. Little Colin Rocodile has lost 1 kite in the park. Herman Chimps misplaced 6 pineapples at the market. It is a counting masterpiece as each character is introduced and a full two-page spread unfolds where Mr Tweeds, the neighbour and the reader are invited to seek the lost items. (a Where’s Waldo meets the Yellow Submarine if you will.) Mr Tweed’s daily walk concludes with a celebratory block party to honour Mr Tweed’s kindness hosted by his neighbours where 10 gifts are presented.

Ankle biter 1 honestly needed a few readings to get into the book. He had more questions at first: why are the bushes shaped like animals? Why are there mice in the library? Why is he shooting arrows in the trees? Why did he lose his pineapples?But he settled into it and liked to search for each item. He liked the end the best: “he gets presents!” and “they closed down the street for a party.” Yes, how he narrates the scene now when we get to that page. I cherish this book for the underlying message of kindness and “they closed down the street for a party.” This world needs more block parties and of course kindness. Kindness is about celebrating. So I’m going to be nice to myself and go celebrate the end of this week.

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Vivian Romero

I want to activate the urban imagined: stimulating, healthy and sustainable spaces for all (especially the young and young at heart).

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