We walked home from school tonight and one of H’s classmates was eating a Screwball. Her younger sister also had one but wasn’t getting on with it very well, so passed it on to H. She happily stuffed her face until she got to the bottom.
“Mummy, there’s a hard bit in here” she advised me. The penny dropped, it has been a long time since I’ve had one of those. “ah… it’ll be bubble gum” I answered, knowing the delight this would give H as she had never tried it before.
I was right. Big smiles. She got it out of the bottom of the plastic container, and started to chew.
“I really want to blow a bubble with it mummy!” she excitedly said.
Have you ever tried to explain how to blow a bubble with bubble gum? It isn’t like you can pick it out of the mouth of the person chewing it, show them, and give it back. So you have to explain, describe, demonstrate. It’s hard.
“errr… you stretch it across your tongue and stick your tongue in it, and errrrr take your tongue away leaving it sticking to your teeth and then blow?” I attempted. Not good. It almost flew out of H’s mouth.
She looked at me resentfully. “that didn’t work”
See, part of me hates this six year old mentality which means that as soon as you get something you have to be able to do everything with it. I’m sure it took me years of perfecting how to blow big bubbles with my Bubble Yum Bubble Gum (and measuring tool which almost certainly came free with Look In or The Beano in approximately 1981) – and even then it was with several packs at the same time for maximum bubble width.
Nevertheless, we persevered. “really stretch it in your mouth, make it nice and flat” I tried to explain. H stretched it really thin.
“I don’t think this will work” she advised. She was right. It didn’t. I told her to keep chewing. “But I want to blow a bubble!” she said with a bit of the stroppy sevens anger she’s developing at the moment.
“make it flat like a pancacke… errr…. stretch it out. Poke your tongue into it” I started, already defeated. It wasn’t going to happen.
“OH LOOK! TV!!!” distraction technique still going strong here, aged six and three quarters. The next thing I knew, she was sat watching tv pulling the bubblegum really really thin like a piece of string. Oh, and she dropped it on the carpet too… it was soon binned.
Later on at teatime she told Shaun about her new ‘thing’. “Ask daddy how to blow a bubble” I smugly said, knowing that while we could all do it without thinking as we’re old and well experienced in such matters, describing it is really not that easy at all.
“Well,” started Shaun “you stretch it across…” and so he pretty much repeated exactly what I said, with a little more detail. H looked at him. “that makes NO sense at all”.
So, dear reader, how would you describe to your child how to blow a bubble with some bubble gum? Bearing in mind I doubt she’ll have any more for a very long time… (I hope)