Category Archives: Family life

Interview with Supergirl

This morning we went to Gatwick Airport to collect our new au pair.  Let’s call her “Supergirl” – I think she will need to be.  (You don’t have to be a superhero to work here, but it helps…)  When we got home, the first thing we did was to show her the important sights of our local area.  We introduced her to the lovely lady who runs the Art Gallery, showed her where the station is (for when she needs to escape Suburbia) and took her for lunch at the deli.  While we were waiting for our lunch, I suggested that the children might like to interview her for this blogpost.  It kept them occupied quite well, and this is what they found out.

What is your town called?


What is your favourite food?

Spinach lasagne

How old are you?


What number is your house?


What is your favourite colour?


What is your favourite cafe in Germany?


Can you balance a pencil on your nose?

Yes, horizontally but not vertically.

What is your favourite animal?

A dolphin

What is your favourite shop in Germany?


I particularly enjoyed Rabbit’s contribution – Let’s just say that balancing pencils on our noses while sitting outside the deli was something of an ice-breaker!

Something’s got to give

So it is after midnight and I have just sat down for the first bit of time for myself today.  Except of course it is technically the next day, so I have actually been through 24 hours with no time to do anything that is on my own personal agenda.  And I’m not talking about anything too ambitious here.  I just need to respond to a few emails and messages, look into buying trainers for the kids online and do my online food shopping.  It seems a little bit sad to call that time for myself…  I would also really like to write more.  There are a few things the kids have been up to that I would like to blog, if only I could find the time.

I’ve been thinking over the last week or two about the fact that I am hopelessly overbooked at the moment, committed to far too many things and I just know that it isn’t going to work.  So I know that I need to cancel some things, or I will just be horribly stressed and certainly not a fun mummy.  The only problem is what to cancel.  There is such a complex net of obligations it is hard to untangle.  If I cancel this I will let that person down.  If I don’t do that, some of the children will be disappointed, though not all of them.  Should I choose on the basis of which I will feel most guilty about not doing, or try to use common sense about what will work best for the majority.  Or should I just cancel everything for the sake of my sanity?  I’m almost at that point.

I’ve been feeling run down and picking up whatever is going around for a week or two, permanently tired and knowing that I’m not doing anything very well because I am trying to do everything.  So I know things have to change.  And today I’ve been asked for help by someone who really needs it, right now and maybe for some time depending how things pan out.  I really want to help and I think I can.  Instead of making me panic about having something else to fit in, it is making me realise that sometimes you just have to prioritise what is most important and let other things go.  I’m not looking forward to contacting people and letting them know I can’t do the things I said I would.  But I feel quite calm about it, and a little bit more in control than I’ve been for a while.  And if I manage to help the person I really want to help, it will definitely have been worth it.

The little things

We took all the children to get their hair cut today, then went shopping for birthday presents for two of their friends.  We were home in time for lunch, and then an afternoon of housework, pottering around and playing.  Just an ordinary day, but it was good.  A little more sorting and decluttering, a couple more bags to the charity shop, a bit of a catch up on laundry.  We didn’t really achieve as much as we hoped, but it was enough to feel we were making progress.  I think the reason it was a good day was to do with the little things that could be easily overlooked.  In fact I’m sure I have overlooked some, but these are the ones that come to mind.

Playing with Wow Toys with Tiddler, which was good until I stepped over them and knocked some over (Don’t knock a toys over mummy, you a silly boy!)

Doing puzzles with Monkey, Rabbit and Tiddler

Knitting a scarf with Rabbit

Blowing bubbles in the garden with Rabbit and Tiddler, and pushing them both on the swings

Sorting laundry with Rabbit and teaching her how to fold socks together in pairs because she really wanted to know how (I will just practise lots of times mummy and then I will be able to do it.)

Chatting to Owl about how he could raise money for charity.  (I could walk up a mountain and down again.  Well, yes, I hope you would come down…)

Playing “Tummy Ache” with Monkey, Rabbit and Tiddler, and then again with Owl and Rabbit

Writing that list makes me realise why I didn’t get more housework done today.  Why I never get as much done as I imagine I will.  And I think I’m fine with that!

Friday round up – 10th August 2012

Saturday and Sunday

We spent the weekend at my parents’ house, which is always good but was even better as my brother was there for the middle weekend of his fortnight in the UK (he lives in Australia.)  We had seen him on Monday evening last week, but it was good to spend some more time together, and the children had lots of fun with him.  We enjoyed the peace and quiet of a weekend in the countryside and away from our to-do lists after such a busy and disrupted few weeks.  There was a Latin lesson, a lot of playing with Lego and reading stories, an afternoon playing out on the green with a friend who lives in the village and plenty of watching the Olympics.


Back to reality and living in our house while the kitchen work was being finished… It had already taken three weeks and seemed like it would go on forever, but the end was in sight.  It was hard work being in the house with the children, so we went out as much as we could.  On Monday I took them to the pub, which Suburban Dad found rather amusing.  Every Monday in the summer holidays they have children’s craft mornings, and it was a great place to hang out.  The younger three played in the sandpit while Owl read a book from cover to cover, giving me time to have a peaceful cup of coffee, then they all had a go at some of the crafts once the crowds around the tables had diminished.  We had lunch there (having no kitchen is expensive) and then walked back via the park, stopping for a while in the playground, then getting soaked in a downpour on the way home.

Tuesday and Wednesday

On Tuesday we had lunch at the deli across the road (we love it) and then walked to the library and spent a long time there reading while Tiddler slept in the buggy.  On Wednesday we went to the local church cafe for lunch (cheaper) and filled in time at the charity shop buying books, then sat outside the Art Gallery with the owner and her son reading the books in the sunshine.  When we went home half way through the afternoon the work was finished, which was a big relief.  We did some work on our Olympic project which we haven’t really been able to do much of with all the disruption, and Owl in particular was very interested.


We all thoroughly enjoyed the first normal day in our own house for a month, and after a quiet morning doing our Olympic project (me and Owl) and playing (the others) we had a good time with our friends who came over for lunch and stayed till after supper (always a pleasure with their three well-behaved helpful children!)  I loved cooking on my new induction hob (thank you John Lewis sale) and found the new layout of the kitchen such an improvement that it was a positive pleasure to let Monkey come in and help me to make pudding (his own creation, called Yummy Delight – I believe there’s a blog post to follow…)  It was never fun cooking in there before, but now I am going to train up the young chefs till I’m out of a job.


I spent the day at the Rosemary Conley Roadshow in Essex, which was a lot of fun, and the children had a wonderful day at the beach with daddy.  When they collected me, I was impressed at how sandy and muddy, lolly-juice-sticky and happy they were.  The bag of rice cakes and fruit I had sent with them was untouched, and the lolly they were finishing and dripping all over the car was their third one – definitely a daddy day.  We arrived home in time to order a delicious Thai meal for supper and share it with my mum, dad and brother who had come down for the evening (my brother is leaving on Sunday.)  It was lovely to be able to sit out in the garden at the end of a beautiful sunny day, and good to relax after such a busy week.

Just playing

It’s probably going to be hard to explain why this picture means something to me.  It’s just a load of toys on our saggy old sofa, a scene you might see any day in our house.  Quite a nice little arrangement of dolls perhaps, but nothing special.  Just one of Monkey’s many creative play scenes which he loves to make.  The thought that he put into it, the care he took over the details, his satisfaction when he had achieved what he had set out to do…these are the reasons why this picture sums up childhood for me.

Some would say he was “just playing” but I think that is missing the point.  It’s easy to be influenced by the world around us, with its constant messages that our children need something more.  More structure, more organised activities, more early education, more targets, more testing… Loud and clear we hear it, if you don’t give your children all this, they will fail, they won’t be able to compete, they won’t get in to a good school, college, university, they won’t have a future.  How many of us stop to question it?

But we should.  We should question the idea that play is something to be fitted in only if the work is done.  Even though it has become more fashionable to talk about “learning through play” this has made little real difference.  Even with the best of intentions, it can be difficult for teachers to plan opportunities for “learning through play” without taking a lot of the joy and creativity out of it.  Children learn best when they have the freedom to lead the play themselves, and to develop it as much or as little as they need to at that time.

As a home educator it is easy to pick out examples of our children learning through play, and it is very satisfying to be able to report that they have, for example, set up a cafe, written menus, taken orders and worked out the cost and the change.  It is tempting to jump up and down with glee, and say “Look, here they are, doing English and Maths, and they think they are just playing!”  But if we only recognise that they are learning through play when their play happens to coincide with a neat and tidy list of subjects (the National Curriculum perhaps), then we really don’t know the half of it.  We may not know what they are learning, perhaps we don’t need to, but when children are given the freedom to play in a stimulating environment, and allowed time to develop their play and sustain it for as long as they want, we can be sure they are learning.  This is the kind of childhood that I want my children to have, and in this country we are lucky to be able to give our children this freedom.  We are also able to choose whether they are educated in school or at home, but it is accepted without question that every child has a right to an education.

While I was thinking about this post, I had an interesting conversation with Owl and Monkey.  It started with a rant about tidying Lego, and how we should look after our toys as many children don’t have any.  We talked about the situation in West Africa, and our involvement (with other bloggers) in the World Vision sponsorship scheme; about how it would feel to be hungry all the time, to work very hard or walk a long way to get a little water or food, and not to have time and energy to play; about how charities are working to provide food for the children who need it, but they need our help.  Owl suggested that we should get some of our toys and send them to the children, so we had a discussion about the cost of sending toys to West Africa!

Most of us have comfortable homes, warm clothes, enough food and an abundance of toys, books and other possessions.  Many children and families in West Africa have very few of these things.  We may feel helpless, but in reality we are not.  In our own small way we can each make a difference to one child, one family, and collectively we can make a bigger difference by sharing our efforts.

This post was written for a blog hop to raise awareness of World Vision’s West Africa Appeal, and the DFID matched funding they are receiving until 30th August.  Any amount you are able to donate via the World Vision website will be doubled and will go towards long term projects to help build a better future for the children of West Africa.

I am tagging two other bloggers to join in to the blog hop if they wish, to help spread the word.

1.  Holly Blog

2.  homeschoolingmiddleeast

This is a blog hop hosted by Patch of Puddles.

Superheroes and Eco Warriors

This morning started off early as usual with Rabbit and Tiddler waking shortly after six o’clock.  However, after a while they went downstairs to play and then Monkey came in to our bed.  We often get up before him so it was nice to have his company first thing for a change.  He and Suburban dad started playing I-spy, which some how led to “I spy batman in bed.”  This developed into an interesting game, and we came up with “spiderman eating spinach”, “superman slurping soup” and a few others.  Monkey would like to make an alphabetical list of superheroes and their alliterative activities, but more research is needed as our knowledge of superheroes is limited.  We did find an alphabetical list online, of many I’d never heard of, so we may continue the game later.  It was a fun way to start the day anyway.

After breakfast, Rabbit and Tiddler went to Dramabuds which was also on a superheroes theme.  They had lots of fun practising their superhero skills, and both joined in really well.  It has been really good to spend time with just the two little ones and I have found that I listen to them more when the big ones are not around.  No wonder they are both so loud most of the time – they have to be!  Tabitha is one of the oldest in the class, and I think she is aware of it, so next term she is going to move up to the class for older children.  There is a class available on Tuesdays, so she will be able to go back to football on Saturdays which she has missed.  So Tiddler will get all my attention at Dramabuds on Saturday mornings next term, and Rabbit will be dropped off at the “big girls’ class” on Tuesdays which will work well as I’ll have all the boys with me.  I’ll miss doing it with both of them though.

The boys chose not to go to football this morning, as it looked like it was going to rain, so the rest of the morning was spent peacefully at home.  Suburban dad and I both had work and online stuff to do, so we sat at the dining room table with some or all of the children working alongside us most of the time.  The big three did their sticker Maths books, Rabbit did her summer sticker book and a new dot-to-dot farm book, and they all did some drawing.  Owl also spent a lot of time upstairs doing Lego.

After lunch, Monkey and Rabbit went to their last Ballet lesson of the term.  I think they have enjoyed it, but Monkey is back on saying that he doesn’t like it.  He is quite a bit older than the others as well as being the only boy, and I think that is just too much being different even for a confident easy-going child.  I am looking into classes that are more suitable for his age, and also for Owl who really wants to try it, but it just depends on whether there are any classes available at the right times.

After ballet, we went to the Ecology Centre garden party which was just lovely.  We were only able to get there a little less than an hour before the end, and we could have spent much longer there, but it was great fun.  Rabbit and Tiddler enjoyed a simple craft activity, making flowers out of paper plates with tissue paper petals and real seeds, and Owl enjoyed finishing Tiddler’s when he wandered off.  They spent some time talking about endangered species and looking at a live stag beetle (and two dead ones) and told the stallholder about the (bigger) stag beetle we had found at Rabbit’s Pre-school.

Then we went to the local honey stall, where we felt and smelt some beeswax, touched some pieces of dry crumbly honeycomb and admired the beeswax models and candles.  We also bought some honey in its honeycomb and some rock cakes, and spent a while chatting to the very nice lady who was running the stall.  When I mentioned that I was home educating the children, her response was refreshingly positive.  She told me about someone she knew who was home educating, and what nice children they had, and said that she thought it was much better for children to learn by being out and about in the community talking to people and doing real life practical tasks like meal-planning, budgeting, shopping and cooking.  She continued on this theme for a while, and it made rather a nice change instead of answering the same old questions about home ed that we are usually asked.  Not that I mind people asking, as I am happy to talk about home ed all day!

We then went to another stall where there was a competition about matching seeds to vegetables, and Rabbit gave me some parenting brownie points by answering lots of questions and correctly identifying pea and pumpkin seeds.   The big three also made cress heads, while sheltering from the rain.   The children had a lovely time, and in addition to all the free educational stuff and friendly people to chat to they also enjoyed winning bubble mixture, eating lollies and cake and having their faces painted (Rabbit with the England flag, Owl with the Union Jack and Monkey as Spiderman!)

I enjoyed chatting to a student who was doing a PhD on sustainable food, and as she asked me her survey questions she rather charmingly commented on how much I knew about the subject.  Along with Rabbit’s superior knowledge of seeds (she was the only one in a group of older children who knew any of them) I was beginning to feel that we were quite the eco warriors.  However, we are very inconsistent as we drive a big car, use a tumble dryer rather too much and resort to disposable nappies and convenience foods when we are busy and stressed.  I think we are getting some things right though, and having the veg box has certainly helped our children to be knowledgeable about vegetables – and not too fussy!

Back at home, we did a science experiment about genetic differences in our taste buds.  We all (except Tiddler) tasted a piece of ordinary paper as a control, and then a strip of paper with a substance called PTC on it.  To some people it tastes very bitter and to others it tastes of nothing, and it may be an explanation for why some people dislike the taste of certain green vegetables more than others.  We found that Suburban dad, Owl and Monkey tasted the bitterness quite strongly while Rabbit and I could only just notice it.  This was interesting as we all eat green vegetables, but Monkey in particular loves them (he’s the boy who has been known to say “Oh yummy, hot vegetables”, when they are brought to the table!)  So we discussed other factors that might affect our tastes, such as how often we are exposed to particular foods.  I think that’s another vote for the vegbox!

At the end of the day Rabbit and Owl both asked for some time on the computer and we just managed to fit it in.  I renewed the boys’ Mathletics subscriptions today and for the first time I added Rabbit as well.  She was very excited to try it and she really liked it.  Owl finally managed to finished his long overdue blog post about the National Gallery, and he wanted to try Conquer Maths (finally took the plunge on that today too) but we really had run out of time.  They are all looking forward to doing it, and I’m all for anything which gets them excited about Maths!  It’s been a fun day and it’s nice to look back and see how much “education” has happened without me planning any of it.  If this is what we can do on a busy Saturday, while ordering electrical appliances online, emptying kitchen cupboards, buying other last minute things for our kitchen project, planning and organising the next two weeks’ worth of activities, doing washing up, laundry and cleaning (and many other tasks) then maybe I need to relax a bit in the week and not plan so many things. I need to keep telling myself this – there is no stopping children learning and complicated plans are really not necessary.

Light at the end of the tunnel

Another couple of weeks have flown by, and I haven’t had a moment to stop and reflect on anything.  We have been having a lot of fun but life has been very complicated, and I can only sustain this pace for a while before the cracks begin to show.  June has been an incredibly busy month, even more so than usual.  I’m glad to have arrived at the beginning of July which means the end is in sight, though for the next week or two there’s still quite a bit going on.

On the Saturday before last, we had our church summer fair which was great fun, and as usual we came away with a lot of “bargains”, in particular some very good children’s books.  The best finds were Katie and the Dinosaurs (about the Natural History Museum) and a really interesting book about chess which Owl is very into at the moment.  It must be time for another clear out of our enormous book collection though, or there soon won’t be room to move in this house.

On the Sunday I went on a Beavers trip with Owl and Monkey to a fun day at a Scout activity centre.  There were so many activities to choose from, including archery, zip wire, climbing “spider mountain”, go-karts, simulators, Meccano building and circus skills.  It was a long day and quite hard work but a lot of fun and all the children had a great time.

On Tuesday I took all four children (by myself!!) to the Natural History Museum.  They enjoyed going on the train and the bus, and they loved the Museum.  In the morning we spent quite a long time in the Creepy Crawlies gallery, and then looked at the Fossils as well.  We had lunch with two other home educating families, which was good fun. I always enjoy meeting people, and the children had a great time playing with their new friends.  We then spent quite a long time in the Wildlife Garden, before the inevitable visit to the shop (more new books!) and then we set off home.  I felt quite a sense of accomplishment at managing the trip on my own and I feel like a world of possibilities has opened up.

On Wednesday we had a meeting of our Home Ed group, at the home of a family who live on a smallholding.  The children had fun digging in the mud, and they also made leaf prints in clay.  Afterwards I helped out at the Beavers sports day, and Owl and Monkey had a great time and tired themselves out completely.  On Thursday I spent a very enjoyable morning at Rabbit’s Preschool.  It was really good to spend some time with her, and she loved it.  She has decided not to do the extra year at Preschool (which would be her Reception year) so she will be finishing next week.  It feels a bit strange to be leaving as it has been part of the routine for so long, but I’m sure it’s the right decision for Rabbit.  She is very excited about joining in with the boys and being home educated.  I asked her what she wanted to learn, and she said “Arts and Crafts and making caterpillars with pompoms.”  I think I can manage that!

This Saturday we had yet another celebration of Owl’s birthday.  We decided we couldn’t take all of his friends bowling at once at the beginning of the month, so we went again with a second lot.  His birthday has therefore lasted a whole month, and he had three birthday cakes – I hope we haven’t set a precedent.  After bowling, we went to a “Jubilympics” event at another local church which was good fun, and quite relaxed which enabled the children to wind down after the excitement of the morning.

Yesterday Owl sang in his choir concert which took place in a garden.  The afternoon started with the audience under umbrellas, but the sun came out just in time and it all went without a hitch.  Owl sang beautifully and came away with a big smile on his face.  Those are the highlights of the last couple of weeks, and there have been all the usual work and other activities going on as well.  As a result I am exhausted, but also happy and proud of my lovely children!  I do have one or two other things to report (regarding caterpillars turning into butterflies, and doing Maths with Smarties!) but I think they each deserve a separate blog post.  I’m going to stop now before I think of anything else – I think this post is long enough.

Extended breastfeeding and the art of conversation

We’ve been having a quiet week at home so far, with Rabbit off Pre-school with a sickness bug.  She’s fine now, and the children have enjoyed extra unstructured time to play together which has been interesting to watch.  There has been lots of imaginative play, some good sharing and co-operation, wonderful if messy creativity, and reasonable attempts at clearing up after themselves.  I must admit I can’t report exactly what it has all been about.  We’ve done some Maths at the start of each day but then I’ve mainly left them to their own devices while I’ve attempted to catch up with housework.  In the afternoons, they have been doing Reading Eggs, Mathletics and Spellodrome, and a lot of playing in the garden.  The big boys have also been to Beavers this evening and had a tennis lesson which they really enjoyed.

Tiddler has been joining in more and more with everything the older ones do – he has even been demanding the right to “do Maths”!  His speech has also suddenly moved on again, with lots more sentences now.  When daddy left for work one day, he said “I want to go and look out window” and there have been lots more like that.  He also tries to join in every conversation, and copies everything he hears.  He’s been asking to sing certain songs over and over again, and is obviously trying hard to learn them.  He loves “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”, and joins in loudly with the bits he knows, especially “WHAT YOU ARE”. He also likes “The Wheels on the Bus”, shouting “ALL DAY LONG” with great enthusiasm.

The strangest conversation I have had with him today occurred during his evening breastfeed.  There has been a lot of debate about extended breastfeeding recently, and I haven’t really commented on it yet.  Maybe I’ll do a serious post about it sometime…Anyway, this evening, he kept stopping to tell me something which was very important but I couldn’t understand it at first.  It was something about monkeys and dinosaurs outside, and then he started saying “Ribbit ribbit said the frog”  which he told me was at Granny’s house.  He then said there was a frog and a fox (no doubt about which Granny he was thinking of) and the fox was having breakfast.  He carried on feeding for a while and then stopped to tell me that the fox had porridge for breakfast, with honey, and some water.  Having communicated this important message, he was happy.  I could feel his satisfaction at knowing enough words to be able to tell such a long story.  I love this stage of development (I think I say that about every stage!) – it’s so interesting to find out what is going on in their funny little heads.  It cheered me up anyway!

Time for a round up…

It’s been a mad week, and I haven’t blogged anything that happened after the Museum visit on Tuesday.  I can’t remember everything we’ve done, but there are a few bits and pieces I want to record here.  On Wednesday, we had a home education group meeting at our house.  The children had a lot of fun playing in our overgrown garden, and luckily we managed not to lose any of them among the long grass and rather impressive array of weeds wild flowers we are currently cultivating.  Monkey and Owl set up a very good obstacle course and all the children had a go, the older ones helping the younger ones so that they all succeeded in completing it.  We had a teepee at the half way point, and I suggested that each child could go in there and either sing a song or count to ten before continuing.  I particularly enjoyed listening to Jingle Bells sung very quietly and sweetly by a lovely four-year old boy!  After the group left, we went to the Beavers’ Jubilee party and the children had fun playing games and eating lots of cake.  When we came home, Monkey decided he had to write a very important note for the milkman before he could go to bed.  I believe this is known as “writing for a purpose”!

On Thursday, Granny (my mum) came to visit so we had a peaceful and productive morning. In the afternoon I decided that, instead of fighting against it, I should use the overgrown garden as an educational resource, so we spent a long time drawing wild flowers and trying to identify them.  Owl, Monkey and Rabbit all did some really good drawings, and I thoroughly enjoyed doing it with them.

On Friday, the other Granny (I need some granny code names…) came to take Owl for his violin lesson, and afterwards she looked after Owl and Monkey while Rabbit was at pre-school and I took Tiddler to his Musicbox class, which he loves.  Grannies may not be essential requirements for home educating, but they certainly make it easier!  Later in the day, the boys continued writing their Lego stories and worked on their Prehistory project a little.  Owl and Rabbit did reading eggs, and they all played in the garden a lot.

Today I took Rabbit and Tiddler to Dramabuds, and Suburban dad took Owl and Monkey to football.  Then they all had their haircut, before the big boys went to another Beavers and Cubs Jubilee party.  Rabbit painted a box for some treasure that she had collected on the way home from Dramabuds (sticks, leaves and a stone!), before going to her ballet lesson.  She then spent the rest of the day playing in our new train paddling pool, joined by Tiddler after his sleep.  I pottered around for a bit trying to do some domestic tasks, before admitting defeat and joining in with them.  I pulled up a chair and sat with my feet in the pool, and for a while the two of them did the same with their little chairs, which was very sweet.  It took a long time for Tiddler to decide to get in but he did in the end.  Rabbit was in and out constantly, jumping and splashing so we all got quite wet anyway!  They also spent a long time playing with the plastic balls that came with the pool (we have loads already, but there’s nothing quite so exciting as new stuff!)  When the big boys finally returned home, we had a rather late but very nice supper in the garden – although the boys had taken a packed tea with them, we guessed they would be hungry enough for a cooked meal, and they certainly were!  Banana smoothies for pudding went down well too.


I’ve been thinking about lists and how they reflect priorities.  I suspect I’m not alone in having lots of to do lists on the go (some make it to paper, and some are just in my head!), and my mood at the end of each day is often related to how much or little of these have been ticked off.

Today, for example… a low score on domestic tasks.  Mainly just clearing up in the kitchen, and a bit of tidying up which was partially undone by Tiddler.  Suburban dad has done better on his list of DIY tasks.  He has been putting up shelves all over the place, which should help us in the war against clutter.  Of course, his success is partly the reason why I’ve done so little, as I was mainly keeping the children busy and out of his way.

Then there are the lists of regular and occasional activities to be fitted in – Saturdays are full of those – and there is quite a sense of accomplishment in looking back over the day and seeing how much we have done.  Today has included Dramabuds, Football, a Christian Aid coffee morning, a church fair, Choir, Ballet and other bits and pieces such as making hair appointments for the children, browsing in a charity shop, and for me a lot of walking between the various activities (over two hours, but a lot of it was at Rabbit’s walking pace so not as impressive as it sounds!)

In all the busy-ness of life, it is easy to forget that there are things that are more important even than all the worthwhile things above.  Maybe I need a new checklist…

  • Have I played with my children today?
  • Have I read to them, listened to them read or looked at a book with them?
  • Have I listened – really listened – to what they have to say?
  • Have I looked in to their eyes and given them my full attention?
  • Have I told them I love them? praised them? said that I enjoyed something we did together?

Today, I think I have done just about all of them, but not necessarily each thing on the list with each child.  It’s challenging with four, but not impossible.  So today, all in all, has been a good day… but I think I can do better.  I think I need to judge the success of each day less on the other lists and more on this one.