Sunday, 23 November 2008

Weekend at home

Now that we are officially one of those 'broken' families, my kids spend the occasional weekend away with Daddy, which overall means they are away from home more often than they were pre-divorce.

This week five year-old had been asking if we could 'just stay at home' for a change, so I said that was fine and she seemed rather excited in a five year-oldish kind of way. I am not inferring that she doesn't like to spend time away with my ex, but I suppose now that she goes to school five days a week, it sometimes seems to her that she has hardly been at home at all.

I sometimes feel guilty as I do look forward to my 'time off' for a whole host of reasons, even though I now spend less time with my children than I ever did before. As a married mum I only ever worked two days a week, now I work three, and their stays away from me were few and far between rather than monthly or fortnightly as they are now. My guilt also extends to the fact that I still feel somewhat overwhelmed when we are alone together just the three of us for a couple of days.

This weekend was different though. I tried to approach the whole idea of staying home in a more positive light. Not quite out loud, I said to myself: "Try not to think of the things you clearly won't get done, they are mostly boring tasks anyway (laundry, washing up, tidying, going to the loo as a few examples), instead embrace the joy of being five and two."

On Saturday I decided this would include some decorating. Not inside my house obviously. That would clearly be insane. No, we trawled through my external cupboard and found a dozen or so of those little test pots of emulsion you buy when in the midst of long-drawn out arguments over which particular shade of pale green you want to paint the kitchen. We had a go at painting the kids' playhouse, although for the two year old this mostly involved handing me pot after pot asking me to open the next one fifteen seconds after the previous. Five year old was very much into the spirit of the idea though, adding shapes and stripes to the house that has been mostly ignored at the bottom of our garden for two years, possibly because it does tend to be used as a handy alternative to a shed at times. She even asked later if we could paint some more of the house another time, so I felt it must have been a positive experience.

Overall I reckoned we had a good day, despite the tears at bedtime when the same little girl who had been asking for a weekend at home suddenly blurted out: "Oh, but we didn't go anywhere today mummy." Oh how contrary to be five.

Now all I need to do is work out how to get the paint out of my hair before I go back to work on Wednesday.

Friday, 21 November 2008


This morning two year old decided she wanted to take a lump of plasticine and a yellow plastic modelling tool to nursery. Who am I to argue with such a decision? Following the usual hustle and bustle associated with getting from the bottom of the steps inside the house to the bottom of the steps outside the house she takes up her place in the pushchair, holding said items one in each hand.

'Make me a snail mummy' she then proceeds to demand at regular intervals as we make our way to school. (You might correctly infer from that request that my modelling skills are rather underdeveloped)
'Well, I need both hands to push the pushchair just at the moment honey.'

She manages to maintain her hold on the plasticine and tool for most of the journey, with a short break for eating a clementine - at which point I am handed the precious cargo for safekeeping.

Thankfully the workers at her nursery are suitably impressed when she hands them the plasticine on arrival a short while later. They are obviously well trained in expressing delight at strange objects. Possibly there is even a special module on the average nursery training scheme aimed specifically at developing such a skill.

The journey home proves slightly more fraught as we are handed back the lump of modelling substance and the yellow tool, only to drop it en route. The sound that accompanies the tears that follow would have broken the heart of an iceberg. Fortunately it had fallen onto the bottom of the pushchair and not onto a random bit of passing pavement. Phew.

On arriving home, what is the first request? Snack? Telly? Find favourite toys? No, 'make me a snail mummy.' Irresistable really.

Sunday, 16 November 2008


There was a moment just before my girls climbed into bed that I stepped back and watched while remembering just how wonderful they are. Admittedly I have had 24 hours away from them this weekend, of course it is easier to acknowledge their good points after a little bit of distance that gives me a chance to reset my energy levels and be an adult for a little while.

It is always true that they are amazing, astounding and incredible. But sometimes I forget.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

On being two

Breakfast yesterday was bran flakes by request. Once we sort the complications of what particular cutlery / bowl / type of milk etc is required the breakfast can be consumed by small child standing on chair.
Small voice says, "Mummy I've got a bran flake on my toe."
"Well, wipe it off then."
"I'm busy eating my bran flakes at the moment, you do it mummy."

Our Monday routine includes a bus ride to two year old's mini-gym 'class' at the local leisure centre after dropping five year old off at school. This week for some reason small child wanted to go right to the back of the bus, so after dumping the pushchair at the front I followed her calling out 'hold on' at every third second as we went. Found a seat, journey was fine, then time to make our way back down the bus, again the words 'hold on' passing my lips several times. The bus stops. We climb off as best we can with one person having legs not much longer than the distance between the step and the pavement and the other carrying two bags, two coats and a pushchair. It seems though that the message about holding on had finally sunk in a little too deep.
"Ok you can let go now." (We are now standing on the pavement.) "Really, let go now... Let go of the bus now. Let go..."