It won’t be long now – I know, I’ve done nothing but whine about them being home. Now I’m sort of wondering if I’ll look back on home-learning with a tear in my eye. Like this lunchtime, I thought, ‘this is one of the last lunches you’ll have together in term time, isn’t that sad?’ My kids, however, are nothing if not reliable. Within five minutes they were screaming at each other about something screen-related, I assume. Which I won’t miss AT ALL. It’s been awful and exhausting – I never thought my children would cry daily after babyhood was over. At that same time, I’ve loved slowing down with them, focussing on them above everything else, getting right into what they are into (Star Dew Valley rules btw). I’ll wave them off joyfully but I wouldn’t give this time back, either.
Excerpts from Morning Pages.
Lockdown Day 14
‘<child> is v. sad today but hopefully he’ll feel better soon. <Other child> did graze their knee trying to drag them out of bed! And they have no clean trousers…they’re all on the washing line.’
Lockdown Day 15
‘had a migraine yesterday – not sure if it was the ‘trying to like almond milk’ or the ‘trying to look at the novel. Damn you, stupid goal-setting workshop! Took both meds, went to bed.’
Lockdown Day 21
‘Wow we’ve done 3 weeks. Mental. I wrote the dullest blog ever yesterday.’
Lockdown Day 28
‘<child> has been super miserable and sad these last two days. They aren’t eating very well and feel ill by teatime…they miss their life…think actually we have to let them be sad…and not expect to feel better, just because they did things differently.’
Whenever you use the phrase ‘Day 1 (or 2, or 17)’ you say the whole sentence in a North East accent like the Big Brother voiceover guy.
If anyone uses the word ‘unprecedented,’ you get a point.
Remembering to remind children to wash hands is the world’s hardest thing to memorise. Even if, like me, you know whole musicals/films/poems off by heart.
There are MANY temptations to become a competitive parent (again). RESIST! We’re all doing our best. And my best bears an uncanny resemblance to your worst, in case you needed to hear that today.
You lose all fear of becoming tech savvy. Yes, Mum, I’m looking at you! And I can, because you have finally sorted out Skype.
There is a mental list of ‘folk you must remember to check in on.’ This list changes every day.
‘Sugar Puffs? Weetabix? Hoops?’
‘Sugar Puffs? Why didn’t you say you wanted them when I asked you?’
‘Go get dressed.’
‘Are you dressed? Why aren’t you dressed?’
‘It’s 8:15 now. Are you dressed?’
‘I’m setting a timer. If you’re not dressed in five minutes, no screen after school.’
‘OK. Stop that. You need to brush your teeth.’
‘Putting a toothbrush in your mouth on a timer is not the same as brushing.’
‘Nooooo, brush all of your teeth, not just the bottom ones on the left hand side.’
‘Do you want your hair up?’
‘OK, you just need your snack and then you’re ready.’
‘You said you didn’t want your hair up!’
‘OK. Yes, I can put it up. No, I need to brush it properly. Well you haven’t, it’s got tangles.’
‘Go. To. School.’
‘No, you CAN’T stay home today.’
Oh, it’s June again. I probably blogged the exact same whine last year.
June 2019 highlights so far include:-
- waking up at 3:30am and making a ‘June’ calendar from an IKEA paper roll
- colour co-ordinating said calendar for each family member
- saying to myself ‘well, that’ll be OK, I just need not to add in anything else.’
- organising two more things that same day. For June.
- scheduling a mental health day for my youngest and thinking ‘oooh duvet day for me too!’
- losing all patience with a child who doesn’t want to go to school and telling them ‘I would be carted off to the loony bin’ if I home-schooled them. (Extra points for bad parenting AND derogatory language surrounding mental health all wrapped up in one grumpy sentence.)
- counting down the hours to July, summer holidays, and sweet, sweet freedom!
Oh it must be Spring. I’m busy!
I like to be busy, but not as much as the average … person? Person in the UK? Person of my generation? ‘Busy’ doesn’t take long to develop into ‘stressed,’ and ‘stressed’ has developed into psychosis – only twice, and a long time ago now, but… I don’t have the option to push myself like other people.
What has been particularly wonderful about this year, as opposed to other Springs, when I was busy with the kids, or busy with work, or busy writing things no one was interested in, is that this year I’m busy with paid, creative work. Sometimes. Other paid work has to fit around the writing, not the other way round.
Meanwhile, the children have to fit around creativity AND paid work, and are no doubt feeling very hard done by!
My favourite bit of parenting is when the kids are getting along. I am delighted to report that, at the time of writing, and for the last week or so, they have been best pals!
Of course this means no one ever goes to sleep…
‘Carry on time’ is the perfect compromise between ‘your parents need some child-free time in the evenings’ and ‘but we’re not tiiiiiiiired.’ Sometimes it ends in tears (or punches), but it’s only when they’re really quiet I have to go and see what they’re up to.
It is a pleasure, getting to know these little people, watching them getting to know each other. It is even more pleasurable doing this from the sofa, watching Netflix with the cat. It’s not just the convenience, though, honest! Without my input, their relationship has the chance to grow.
December again, and lots of us are in the middle of an insane whirl of activities that come with having school-aged children: nativity-lyrics-tickets this, shopping-bankruptcy that, tinsel-candy-cane this, special-magical-day-out that.
The pressure to remain joyful is intense: and the calendar looks like a story that’s been edited by three different people in four colours of pen. Of course we want to spend time with friends and family, find perfect gifts, wrap them beautifully, reach out to old friends with a card.
But please do remember to look after yourselves too.
And for those of you who won’t be as busy, for whatever reason, special tiny hugs to you. Yuletide can be difficult in lots of ways.
I wish you all a joyful and peaceful festive season. Looking forward to 2019 and more tinylife adventures.
tinylife will be back mid-January.
Ha! Who knew that cycling, yoga and parenting could be such an interlocking gift?
Picture the scene (if you look after kids, it won’t be a stretch), you are taking the kids out for a bike ride, but the littler one has hit his leg off his bike, has a huge meltdown and refuses to go.
Instead of using the normal things (threats or bribes, of course!), this day I found myself doing some yogic breathing.
And it worked!
I didn’t mind that he seemed very upset, I was pretty sure he was OK and just required some fresh air and exercise.
We got out for our cycle. He did 5k. I didn’t scream at him, or take away SCREEN TIME, or offer to buy him something I couldn’t afford.
And sometimes, as a parent, so do I.
I’m really sorry, but this is going to be one of those mum blogs. My kids are driving me insane!
What do you do when one of your kids is so mean to the other one it takes your breath away? How can it take an hour and a half to get ready for school? How can you stop them from fighting when they just don’t? Even when you tell them once, twice … well, you get the idea.
Don’t even start me on how I try and fail to make time for me and Mr HB when they just. Won’t. Go. To. Bed. I’ve taken to hiding in my own bedroom at night.
I know I am SO LUCKY to get to be home with my children. I love them. They do my head in. Parenting is so difficult. Arg!