#atinylife february broken

February breakIt is not the right time of year for having the children at home. With Valentines smack in the middle, I predict the divorce rate will rise…

Instead of braving a range of elements: rain, wind, snow … we set up pillow forts and hid under blankets with our devices. I worked out I could watch Netflix on the laptop with my headphones – score! The kids morphed wing chairs into gamer chairs by moving them in front of the TV, and built more forts, this time in the Minecraft ether.

We’re economising due to the impending house move, so we treated ourselves to Morrison’s make your own pizza instead of takeaway, Next in Fashion with the curtains closed instead of the cinema.

Valentines worked out OK for me: Mr HB was off to Aldi. I received a bunch of reluctant roses.

#atinylife screen²

I give in. I really do.

We now have two enforced periods of no-screen: Wednesdays after school (which is now library day) and Sunday mornings.

My oldest will actually come to church, despite their firm atheism, just to help the time go by. This week I asked them to make me another picture challenge for a blog post. They weren’t happy with the drawing, but asked me to recreate it for them.

So here we are: A walk might be nice

 

 

This is my life. Every minute that is not a scheduled screen free minute is now spent on a screen. Going for a walk has become a mental battle before it gets anywhere near physically punishing. You don’t want to know what the screen time graphs I get from Microsoft look like (yeah, cheers for that, Microsoft).

I’m not the only one, am I?

 

#atinylife your annual reminder

Dear tinylifers,

This is your annual reminder to make time for yourself over Christmas.

It is a great time of year (for many, not for everyone) to see friends and family, buy thoughtful gifts, decorate your house top to toe in tinsel or greenery: wrap, post, socialise, and eat, eat, eat.

It is a great time to stretch yourself to breaking and end up exhausted.

If you can, plan some days that are empty. Or some hours. Or some minutes. Force yourself to sit down. Or go to sleep. Or breathe.

It is OK to not have a wonderful time every moment of every day over Christmas. It is OK if your children do not have a wonderful time every moment of their school holiday. You get to be a person too.

tiny love

Stay tiny!

tinylife will return on 12th January.

#atinylife Novel #4

I was planning my next novel the other day (as you do). As many of you know, there are apparently two types of novel-writers, the pantsers and the planners.

I’m a planner.

I use the excellent ‘Save the Cat’ for story structure, mostly so I can use phrases like ‘break into Act 3.’ Ripping up little bits of paper for the required fifteen sections, I filled in what I could, hoping the blank sections would somehow become magically completed as I worked.Meow

Number 12 is a story beat called ‘Dark Night of the Soul.’ By my calculations it occurs in Chapter 36 of 40.

When I looked over what I’d written, it said ‘main character realises she needs to be a fucking mum and get on with it,’ I realised this was exactly. It.

It’s now written on slip number 2: ‘Thematic Premise Stated.’

#atinylife write what you know

I am just settling back down to work. Chapter two of Novel number 4 – a woman sits in an office, trying to work on her PhD. Her phone rings: it’s her mother in law. Her phone rings again: this time it’s her friend.

The Spotify playlist I’m ignoring stops playing, my phone rings.WWYK

It’s Mr HB. Well, it’s Mr HB’s phone. My youngest had asked if he could ring, and Mr HB thought he wanted to say hello and ‘some other nice things.’

Fat chance. He had rung to tell me how bad his day had been.

Then Mr HB told me the oldest had been in trouble again. I listened as they lost screen for the afternoon and melted down.

Mr HB apologised. I went back to work. The woman got some work done. Her phone was silent: for now.

#atinylife stye

The wee one came downstairs looking like he’d been punched in the eye, and I would usually blame his older sibling – of course! – but a) they haven’t quite graduated to actual punching yet, and b) I’d seen it before so I knew…

it was a stye.

I know he would’ve been capable of going to school. It isn’t even impacting on his vision (he is playing Minecraft next to me as I type). But he was so sad when he woke up, and school finishes at lunchtime on Fridays. It might be a stress thing, he’s had an eventful couple of weeks at a new school. Or not.

Am I a lax parent?stye

Oh, probably.

I’m getting a bit bored of judging myself, to be honest. He’ll be fine, and I doubt it’ll impact on his overall education. He’s only 9!

#tinylife September weekend

September WeekendWe used to start our Christmas shopping

on the September long weekend we get here.

 

Until the year we stood at the mirror in the hall

and I said ‘they could share a room, anyway.’

Until the year the midwives had said ‘a line is a line is a line,’

then the bleeding started.

Until the year we had been a tiny little bit pregnant

so we went to Holy Island

now we weren’t pregnant at all, you took the toddler for a walk

so I could sit on a dune and cry.

 

Until the year we were pregnant again by October.

 

Every September weekend, I remember

the tiny little bit of pregnant I was,

over that long weekend: the anniversary of you,

you tiny little bit that never came to anything.

We never start our Christmas shopping in September.