Friday, May 10, 2013
Tea parties have always had a particular allure with us, as I'm sure they have with people the world over. Whether they included the pink plastic Fisher-Price tea set with which my girls played endlessly, or the real china cups that we have collected from special family members; whether our guests were our favorite dolls and stuffed animals, or the next-door neighbour, tea time has always been a time to look forward to - a comforting time. A nice cuppa is always in order when a celebration is needed, when a good cry is on the agenda, and everything in between.
Unknown to us at the time, Little Nanny started to tidy things up once she decided that this world was giving her more trouble than she cared to deal with. In the last year of her life she gave a specially-chosen tea cup to each of her granddaughters and great-granddaughters on their birthdays. She came from a time when one tea cup and saucer made a welcome and appreciated bridal shower gift, unlike today when we couldn't possibly set up a house without perfectly - matching place settings for 48 of our closest friends. New brides would invariably then find themselves with a collection of unique cups and saucers. We had no idea, but what a memorable way to pass on her treasures!
After their passing, we also received tea cups from Big Nanny (she was taller than Little Nanny, and God bless her she was always a great sport for getting that moniker) and from Mr. Fun's Gramma. And although I do have several matching sets of teacups to use, I often use all the mismatched ones for big family meals like birthdays. In a small way, it's like we are setting a place for these very special women at our table. We shared many, many wonderful cups of tea with them and it is so important to still have them with us.
A very fun picture book I read this week is Tea Rex, by Molly Idle (Viking, 2013). It would make a great cuddle-up and read book because there is so much humour to be found in a close inspection of the illustrations. Not only will it appeal to tea party lovers, but dinosaur enthusiasts will be enchanted as well. Older children will appreciate the play on words.
I had a "big, fat idea" (to borrow from the late, great Mr. Dressup) to use Tea Rex in somewhat of a Teddy Bears' Picnic scheme. I can envision an actual tea party with some of my younger students (milk with a little tea added?), We would invite favorite toy dinosaurs to join us, and feature lots of our favourite dinosaur books. As in Ms. Idle's book, it would be a nice time to review tea party etiquette. Perfect for both boys and girls. I think it might be enjoyable to have a parent or special guest join each student. What do you think?