Monday, February 02, 2009

Imagine that...

Like many of you, I was intrigued by the interview thing going round and put my hand up for some questions. Tracey of Peppermint Patcher and – now – Imagine That… quilts - - kindly took some time off from her new project to think up some for me. And then I got ill and have never had the oomph to answer them.

Most of my bloggy friends already know about this, but just in case you don’t, before I tidy my hair and take the interview couch let just tell you about Imagine That… quilts, her new venture. This is Tracey speaking – drum roll...:

“What are Imagine That… quilts? They are a new concept in quilted wallhangings for children. I have created imaginary scenes around a photograph of a child’s face printed onto printable fabric . In these quilts your child can be anything that they imagine - a pirate, a fairy, an astronaut, a princess. The list is unlimited, just like the imagination of a child.

The quilts are quick and easy to make. Perfect for even the beginning quilter. They use applique, no piecing and are small enough to hang on a bedroom wall.

The look on the face of a child when you present them with their very own Imagine That… quilt is priceless. I started making these for my nieces and nephews and their squeals of delight have made every single stitch worthwhile.”

Do visit her website to find out more.

Now, her questions. The first one is about my children and of course like any adoring mother I can never resist an opportunity to talk about them. So I’ll deal with the other questions another time.

1. Each of your children has taken a different path as a adult. What talents did you see in them as children that suit their chosen careers?

Hmm. That made me think. In a recent post I said something about seeing a video of the offspring as children when they were reading/drawing/being a baby and thinking of them now as an archivist/architect/doctor. But in fact Daughter 1, now an archivist, spent as much time drawing and playing with Lego as Daughter 2, now an architect, did. They were both keen on art and making things .

Daughter 1 learned to read very early, however – a useful skill for looking at documents (and indeed doing most other jobs…). We had those magnetic plastic letters on the fridge and my friend Janet swears that she can remember Daughter 1 going “C-A-T cat!” from these when I was pregnant with Daughter 2 (who was born when Daughter 1 was 21 months old).This might have been a bit of a fluke, but she was certainly reading short words and phrases during the time she was 2 and books by the time she was 3. I’m not claiming that she was a genius; it’s just what she decided to do. She wasn’t very sociable with other children apart from her sister and brother, preferring the company of adults, so tended to have an adult vocabulary. Also she was never a child who slept in the evenings, so when we packed her off to bed at 8.30pm or so, she lay there looking at books and (as we later discovered) working out how to read. One of her very favourite books around the age of 5 was “The Usborne Book of the World” (I think it was called) – a science book for children – and she knew it off by heart. My father and brother are scientists and she was like them in some ways, so I think I rather expected her to be a scientist. She was also quite advanced in maths, in a theoretical way – I remember her saying when she was about 4, “There are 2-numbers and not-2 numbers, aren’t there? “ and I said “What?” and she said, “Well, you know, 2-numbers are 2,4,6,8,10 and not-2 numbers are 1,3,5,7,9.” But reading was always her favourite thing, so I think she’d be very happy if she could spend her days reading and cataloguing interesting archives rather than making up archive policies, which is more what she’s doing in her present job.

Daughter 2 is mildly dyslexic – she could read perfectly well but had eccentric (though logical) spelling when she was little. Lots of her architect friends are slightly dyslexic too, as it turns out. Apart from that she was a good all-rounder and I don’t think it occurred to us that she might do architecture till we had an extension built to our kitchen when she was 14 or15 and she took a great interest in how it was being put together. She’s also always had a good sense of direction and been able to think three-dimensionally and she’s always been efficient too and very sociable – good people skills are useful for dealing with tradesmen and contractors and awkward clients. Architecture is a tough life, though. She was always wonderful with small children and in an alternative universe she'd have made a great primary teacher.

Our son was also a good all-rounder. He was particularly able at languages at school but decided quite early that he wanted to do medicine. We come from quite a medical family: my aunt and Mr Life’s aunt, uncle and cousin are all doctors and another of his cousins is a nurse, so it didn’t seem a particularly surprising decision. He also loved cars from when he was a small boy and I think one attraction of doctoring might have been his great-uncle's salary, which allowed him to buy a constant supply of BMWs...
All his teachers used to say at parents’ evenings that he was very quiet; but he wasn’t really quiet at home, though not noisy. He was always funny but quite calm and laid-back. He used to work at the local pharmacy on Saturday mornings and I remember going in one day and hearing him speaking so nicely to old ladies collecting their prescriptions and I thought then that he would have a very kindly manner as a doctor.
Sorry for the garrulousness. Answers to the other questions will follow, but I think I've rambled on quite enough for one day.

Meanwhile, if you'd like to be "interviewed" then say so in a comment and I'll think up five questions for you.


  1. Hand up - would love five questions.

    Your No 1 daughter sounds like our grandson. He started reading about 3-4 years old, still has his head in a book when ever he gets the chance.

  2. Loved reading more about your lovely and talented children! Will be watching for more questions and your answers.....

  3. Anonymous9:56 am

    They are indeed a clever bunch. Not at all surprising!
    And I'll put my hand up, too :)

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  5. I would be glad to see the users questions and your answers.

  6. I wouldn't mind some questions either!

    I loved reading about your children, Isabelle!

  7. Ahhh, the best kind of post! I love that happy, smiling picture of the children, they're all three so adorable. And loved reading all about them. Isn't it fun to think back and wonder if there were any hints as to what they might become? I can't wait to see what your other questions are!

  8. Fabulously reflective and thoroughly interesting. I really wanted to hear your answer to this one as I watch my children reach the end of the teens and make decisions about their life paths.

    (My architect husband is very creative - especially with his spelling!)

  9. I love, love LOVE that photo!

  10. How very interesting and fun to read about your lovely children, Isabelle. I loved it! The individual personalities are fascinating, aren't they?
    I smiled about Tracey's comment on her husband's spelling. It made me think of my own hubby's very creative spelling. It's amazing how many very smart people don't spell well.