5 months & 1 week into Daddyhood

My daughter and I have started watching In the Night Garden. My five month old daughter and I. It comes on the telly, on CBeebies, just before her bath/bed-time, so we watch it for its calming/soothing properties before she ventures into snoozeland. Well that’s the idea.

It does seem to have a bit of a calming/soothing effect on her, but also… it has a calming/soothing effect on me!

For those of you who are not familiar with this fine slice of childhood televisual entertainment, here is the website…

www.inthenightgarden.co.uk

At the time of posting, I have not yet had a look at the above, so my apologies if it does not accurately impress upon you the qualities of the TV programme, but let me just say that, in brief, it is one of those programmes which tends to leave adults wondering, regarding its creators, What are they on?! – but very young children, who it is aimed at, seem to love it. Very young children, that is… and me!

And herein lies my confession.

I am a thirty six year old fan of In the Night Garden.

I’m not really sure what it is about it. It’s weird. Even a little creepy at times. All the weird-looking characters jump around, do odd little dances and squeak indistinct words – or they would be indistinct if I didn’t watch it with subtitles… It turns out Upsy Daisy goes around saying “Upsy Daisy” and “Daisy Doo,” the Tombliboos say “Tombliboo” and Makka Pakka says “Makka Pakka” and “Ooh”… which all makes a kind of sense, if you think about it.

Speaking of Makka Pakka… he (I think he’s a he) is, without a doubt, my favourite character of the moment.

“Who the heck” (you might, at this point, be asking (or words to that effect)) “is Makka Pakka?!”

To which I would reply…

“Only the most Zen children’s fictional character, second only to Winnie the Pooh… and perhaps Bagpuss… and Fingermouse…!”

(God, I’m showing my age now… 😐 )

“Why” (you may further enquire) “is this ‘Makka Pakka’ person-of-indeterminate-gender so, as you say, ‘Zen’?”

To which I will respond…

“Well hang on, let me first of all just tell you a little more about who Makka Pakka is…”

To whit…

Bearing in mind I have not (sorry, I mean “my daughter and I have not” (!)) been watching In the Night Garden very long, and I/we are yet to watch a full episode… the impression I get of Makka Pakka is that he (I think we shall presume he is a he) is some kind of cute, chubby, permanently happy alien, who lives in a cave or stone hut in a trench in the sun-dappled woods that are The Night Garden, he sleeps on a bed of stones (as my colleague informed me today), and he is always found, wherever he goes, to be pushing around what has the appearance of half a tricycle with various “tools” hanging off/attached to it, which could do with a good dose of WD40. And the reason he is so Zen is…

In the latest episode enjoyed by my daughter and I, Makka Pakka was to be found ceasing his incessant squeaky-half-tricycle pushing at a clearing in the woods in which he had located five smooth, rounded stones of varying sizes. Makka Pakka proceeded to clean the stones (with a doughnut-shaped sponge and a bit of soap; wiggling his bum and chirping merrily to himself as he did so), dry them (with a tool he had got off his squeaky-half-tricycle, called something like a “huff-puff,” which blew the stones dry), then carefully pile them on top of each other – in a manner not entirely dissimilar to the work of artist, Andy Goldsworthy!

So there it is…

Andy Goldsworthy… Makka Pakka…

The Zen of In the Night Garden… 🙂

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