Gaht’s nöd, for those unaccustomed to Swiss German (Schwiizertüüütsch), means roughly „we both of us know, this thing just ain‘t working out”. For all I know, it’s what Swiss teenagers say to each other, by SMS of course, when they want to end a romantic tryst: “Gaht’s nöd, Loser”.
Anyway, I had to admit today that Muki Singen just gaht nöd. Oh, more translation – Muki Singen is MUtter (Mummy) + KInd (Kid) singing. Just under an hour of sitting in a big circle, shaking our maracas along to such classics as “Wer rüttled und schüttled?”, “Kasimir the sleepy hedgehog” and “Miin Drache” (which confused me no end because I thought a ‘drache’ was a dragon, but turns out it’s a kite – all the stuff about it flying in the sky and having a long tail made perfect sense, it was only when it got stuck in a tree that I started to have my doubts). Anyway, try explaining “Ring-a-ring-a-roses” to someone non-English-speaking and you quickly see that we fill our children’s heads with utter nonsense the world over.
Back to the plot. The Muki Singen class is a bit slow. There’s a lot of stopping to exchange maracas for a tub of hazelnuts and then scarves and then tiny sticker faces and then tambourines and then maracas again. There’s a lot of listening to the teacher make “neep-neep-neep” noises while she waggles a mouse on the end of her finger. There’s only a little bit of dancing about pretending to be the wind or banging drums or doing the conga.
To be honest, I had expected Muki Singen to be a little more high energy. I think I had in mind something a bit like Zumba, but with less booty and more biscuits.
Nevertheless, all the other kids seem to like it. It’s only Alpha Blondie who patently hates every darn minute. When the other kids are sitting on their Mums’ laps in a circle, Alpha Blondie is off hitting a snare drum with his forehead; when the other kids are dancing about with scarves, he is sweeping the floor with a dustpan and brush; when the other kids are curled up on a blanket being sleeping hedgehogs, he is shouting “Me NOT”, opening the door and buggering off down the corridor.
I don’t know why I’m surprised - his older sister, Curly Girlie, was exactly the same at his age. Playgroups, dance classes, pony riding, swimming lessons - she does NOT care that all the other kids are doing it, she does NOT care that Mummy paid good money for this, she does NOT care to perform in exchange for a crummy sticker.
So what does this say about my kids? Attention deficit or free spirited? Disobedient or self-possessed? Disruptive or non-conformist?
Well, my choice of language there belies what I think. Do I want my kids to sit nicely with their knees pressed together, singing sweet ditties while sewing a crochet doily to give to Mater? No, I want them to run, jump, climb, explore, sing loudly, paint messily, draw all over their faces with my best lipstick, blow raspberries, laugh at farts, sting their knees on nettles, rip and stain their clothes scrumping blackberries, tip cows, play with dogs, read illicitly after lights-out and remember just enough about kids TV shows to reminisce about them in pubs later. This is what childhood is FOR. Like most mothers, I’d love them to be perfect in public, (no shrieking, no biting, no snatching), but only to make my life easier and I’m well aware that it’s not possible to be perfect – it would only ruin them to even try.
So I end up asking myself – why am I trying to fit a square peg in a round hole? After all, if I don’t like Muki Singen all that much, why should Alpha Blondie? My kids are born of parents who do not go to the ballet, watch films with sub-titles or listen to music that doesn’t have lyrics. Personally, dancing around with a scarf makes me feel terribly self-conscious - I don’t want to see other people dance around with scarves and I don’t really want to do it myself. In fact, unless you’re doing a Kate Bush turn at your local karaoke, (and if this is the case, then the more chiffon the merrier), I don’t see any excuse for dancing around with scarves. Does that make me an attention-deficit, undisciplined radical? No, gaht’s nöd.