It’s been a busy week, and until the very end I didn’t get the chance to sit down to any formal activities with the children. I missed it. I love our crafting and playing times more than anything, but sometimes life gets in the way. This was one of those weeks where we struggled to find time at home, and when we did, housework had got to the stage where it wasn’t a “should” but a “must”, and baby F had teeth coming through, wanted to be carried everywhere and objected on the rare occasion I sat down.
Looking back at The Day We Did Nothing, I stopped feeling as guilty and realised, well, this is just family life and it isn’t all finger painting and stories. The housework has to be done, we have to go to Aldi, the post office, the bank… school uniforms have to be clean, meals have to be cooked. It’s everyday life, and for the children it is just as important as painting. it’s preparing them for adulthood, it’s laying the foundations, it’s understanding daily routine, building life skills. It’s that hard realisation that much as we might want to build a lego spaceship, we have to do other things first, or as well. And that even harder lesson that life doesn’t always revolve around them – there is an elderly relative who would like a visit, we have an appointment here, I have promised to drop something off for someone…
And although I didn’t enjoy the rushing around, and inwardly complained more than the children, who were actually very good-natured about it all, it isn’t all drudgery. I can count the following five-minute activities that we squeezed in between commitments:
- Bedtime stories all round.
- Splashy baths with toys, and even one coloured one albeit without the full on theme and painting.
- Cooking together.
- Singing silly songs.
- Playing hopscotch.
- Playing snakes and ladders.
- Talking about the seasons, observing the autumn leaves and even collecting a few on our way home from school.
- We learnt the words “deciduous” and “evergreen”, and we counted the different kinds of leaves we saw.
- We talked about the way plants adapt to their environment.
- L and N drew pictures, and did cutting and sticking.
- N practised writing (our favourite way to do this – write with a highlighter and let them trace over the top – my children take to this much better than joining dots together)
- And we did our research ready for Space Week projects
And this was in between the following things we did:
- We put clothes away together
- We made spaghetti bolognese
- We visited Great Grannie
- We went shopping together, where we looked at coins, used a shopping list and worked out what we needed.
- We generally tidied up a bit (not that you’d know it, but that’s another story…)
That is so much more than I thought! And it is the fabric of our lives, the background to the crafting and baking and coloured baths. It is what we will look back on when they are grown up, and smile at the memory of them standing on little wooden chairs in the kitchen carefully buttering their own toast, the little wellies trudging through autumn leaves, the felt pens that never have lids on taking up permanent residence on the dining table, the little weight in my arms that mewls and wriggles as i try to stuff clothes into drawers. It’s our life and it’s precious. Taking a deep breath and letting them walk home backwards even though it takes longer when you’re in a hurry, letting them stop to pick up a pinecone or conker even though we have hundreds at home, including them in the housework when it takes half as long in grown-up time – well, it’s worth reminding ourselves it is worth the effort, to have memories woven in to a busy week like this one.