This post has been pulled from the archives and edited from Summer holidays for Coronavirus especially for Abbi and Laura and all those working from home with young children. Just know, I know that you’re amazing.
- You’re watching a film, OK it’s Disney..but actually you’re involved in the story (sad but true)..at the crucial scene (long-lost Anastasia being re-introduced to her frail Grandmother..a real tear jerker. Promise)…there’s always a ‘Mum, mum, I need to tell you something RIGHT NOW.’ Without fail. Truth be told, happens in all programmes..sport – just as they come to the finishing line, the news..the weather! They announce the weather you’ve waited 30 minutes to hear so you can plan the next day –
picnic? no picnic?….’Mum, MUM!…’
- This also relates to map-reading or any activity that requires your immediate attention…..major road junction and need to hear the sat nav? or need to talk to husband because not trusting the stat nav?… ‘Mum, MUM, MUUUUM!’…
- The phone..Mum talking on phone means I must talk to her extra loudly SO SHE CAN HEAR ME.
- ‘Please guys I need 30 minutes undisturbed’ equals at least six interruptions. Because each one was only a small one…because they didn’t want to interrupt you…
- The call of ‘Mum, MUM!’ from another floor followed by silence…that chick-like cry translates to ‘Drop-everything-you’re-doing-even-if-it’s-saving-the-world-because-I-need-you-to-do-something-really-insignificant-because-if-it-was-important-I- would-actually-bother-to-come-and-find-you’.
- The other much heard cry: ‘Mum-MUM-I-need-a-wee NOW!’…guaranteed on a motorway but the worst time so far…Eight hours into a drive on Greek roads at 37 degrees of heat, crawling along on single track, snaking, moutainous road with a stream of lorries which we’d slowly and painfully over-taken without being killed. We pulled over and had to watch as each and everyone passed us again..I cried. And Charlie was given an empty bottle for the rest of the journey..
- The ground-hog-day morning call of ‘Please can everyone have their shoes on and teeth brushed and everything ready
so we can goas soon as I’ve finished this’. You finish tidying the house, sorting the washing, putting the washing machine on, cleaning the fridge (delete/add as appropriate)..and nothing’s happened. And now you’ll be late…
- You’re always late.
- The ground-hog-moment of reminding them to say please and thank you on loop throughout the day. Like hitting you’re head against a permanent wall. You can remember the date of your birthdays but this is too hard?? It’s the mum equivalent of chinese water torture. Results in No.15.
- I say ‘Please can you turn your ipod down’ and I get ‘Well that’s it..I’m just going to throw it in the bin and then you’ll be sorry’. Like doh? Results in no.15.
- The more bored they get, the less I want to do with them, the less they are capable of doing except whining at me for being bored…and then I spout all the cliches: ‘In my day…’
Then you book them on a camp or tennis club..and it’s ‘We don’t want to go because we want to stay with you..’ Why???
- The longer you take to cook their breakfast/lunch/supper the less it will be appreciated. And cooking three meals a day stinks. Results in no.15…for me..
- So you have a
picnicand where ever you are, whatever you’re doing, you’ll be handed all the rubbish as if you’re one giant dustbin. Even if you’re driving. Or getting ready to pilot a rocket to the moon..silently, the used lolly wrapper/empty drink carton, sandwich foil are passed over to you… Do I have ‘I am really a bin’ written in permanent ink on my forehead? Results in no.15..
- I tell them a certain behaviour will result in a consequence. They never believe I’ll carry it through. But I do every time..and they’re still shocked. Like??
- Because of no.15 the consequence usually means we don’t do something nice
that gets us out of the house.…which means no.11 kicks in…and I’m bored too.
- Asking something to be done requires the order in triplicate. And then no.15 kicks in, followed by no.16. And then no.18
- The longer
the school holidays last, the more I find my brain shrinks (see no.1)
- And then they’ll disappear and play beautifully together..
- Except the more fun they have…. the greater the mess…
- Till it reaches a tipping point of hysterical proportions and you say ‘This will all end in tears’. And it does…
5 weeks down, three more to go
Yeah. Um. Well. Yep. When actually will it end? This is life now. gulp.
Laters, Kate x
This morning is the first test of the strength and endurance of our internet – all four of us are working at the same time. So far, all good – the biggest concern is between those who can work quietly (me, John, Bella) and those who can’t (Charlie) and whether those who work quietly will influence a dial down, or the constant nagging needs of one will dial it in the opposite way; I’ve only yelled once…
We’ve all kept to our normal times. Apart from Bella, who over slept so missed the newly installed 8.00 am run – we’ve each installed the couch to 5k app with the aim to run with it every day. It’s a great programme especially for beginners; it tells you when to run and when to walk and is designed to progress you from a beginner to running a full 5k. There’s an option where you can choose your personal running coach – mine is Michael Johnson, because when he tells me I’m doing good, I really believe I’m doing good. He’s fast becoming a good friend. When we’re running as a group we look like a flock of birds, when with no obvious signal we all transform from walking to pounding the streets. The streets today were probably two thirds down on traffic, but busier than expected. I think everyone thinks their car is their own portable bubble. The thing is it’s what you do at either end of your journeys that can matter…there’s news that petrol pumps are sources of infection. Just saying.
This weekend we prepped for the sketchbook revival 2020 challenge, buying nothing, but going through book shelves for old books, gathering dust that could do with a re-love, finding old sketchbooks, tearing out pages, old letters, cards, wrapping paper, tissue paper – anything that would make it interesting, then sewing it together…very satisfying.
Mine is done now. Just waiting for the first email to drop in with instructions for the day – better check my spam folder…
Also redid our window boxes: ivy, trailing white geraniums, miniature daffodil bulbs and some white plant that looked pretty! They’re going to get a bit of love every day as well.
Something little, something often, something creative, something together. This is could be more a blessing than a chore.
Laters, Kate x
As this week comes to an end we have potentially the biggest change so far – I have Bella at home for the first time today and Charlie’s school will close at 3.50 pm. Things to be grateful for:
- My children are older.
- We have a garden.
- I like my children.
I think it also helps that I am used to working from home and already have systems in place that I know work. My rules are pretty simple: Run a planner to prioritise what needs to be done, turn off all distractions apart from appropriate music, set a timer – 30 minutes max, focus till timer goes off, re-set with 10 minute timer, start a podcast, do a cleaning or admin job to tick off planner. Repeat. There’s something about this system that means you’re always willing to re-start the 30 minutes because you stopped it just before you lost concentration. And you always look forward to the 10 minutes because you left the podcast at a critical stage…
I am hoping we’ll all be able to work in the mornings, and create in the afternoons.
Through Carla Sonheim’s amazing website, I have joined the sketchbook revival for daily drawing sessions. What appeals about this is the unleashing of creative freedom that is the opposite to perfection. I received the first pre-event taster in my email box straight away – (so far all of this has been free) – a tutorial with Calylee Grey on making a junk art journal from an old vintage book. Utterly delicious and a must to do: You don’t actually need anything to start, other than a willingness to experiment and a drive to do a little bit every day.
This is my heaven.
Laters, Kate x
(A pic of my fantasy music room in Paris)
The only time I play the piano now is at Christmas. I have a battered old carol book that gets pulled out every year and the fingers get dusted off. The violin does come out of it’s case occasionally – we got together with friends on the 4 Jan (should’ve been the 6, except that was a Monday) to celebrate an Armenian Christmas (none of us are Armenian) with gifts of traditional dress, food, music and dance. I was on the fiddle, the husband was singing, Charlie on the drums and Bella on the Tamborine: As is every parents right,The video will be used to mortify them on their eighteenth birthdays. Needless to say, it was a fabulous evening, of the type we need more of. For me, it was interesting in that it has always been the spontaneous music making that I have loved, not restricted by notes, rules and history. Neither of my children play instruments, they’ve been offered them, Bella even played the flute for a while, but it takes a lot of discipline to play an instrument well. And the truth is, much of that discipline comes via parents who can see the end game. Which does work to a certain extent. But the real heart is when a child will sit down and play just because they want to.
This is something, particularly as an ex-professional musician, I have thought a lot about; I would like Bella and Charlie to be able to create music themselves – it is one of life’s great joys – but maybe in a less formal way. And I think I’ve found the answer: I’ve come across Piano Note on Youtube. A series of piano lessons designed by song writer and recording artist Lisa Witt, where the manuscript is thrown out with the rule book, instead everything is taught through chords and chord progression. This means you progress much faster, develop your ears and learn to accompany yourself to your favourite songs. Who needs more?
Bella and I are playing for 15 minutes a day. We’re hoping to persuade Charlie to join us. And who knows, maybe it’ll lead to more amazing evenings like this one.
I hope so.
Laters, Kate x
Many times it’s the word on the street that carries more weight than slick advertising ever can: Modibodi, as sworn and praised to me by two very good friends and worn by their daughters, newly at secondary school and newly coming to grips with monthly meetings of Auntie Flo…
This brand designs modern, period proof underwear, with – and it takes a while to get the head around this – no need for anything other than washing at the end of the day. No leaks, no stains and no worries….
Amongst their many designs, they also produce swimwear – either a one piece or bikini bums. Which quite frankly blows-my-little-mind: For a young teen this could quite literally be a game changer…
(All pics Modibodi and Pinterest)
Prices aren’t cheap, but then again, forking out every month isn’t either. And you can add on the saving to the environment…it really makes these look like no brainers.
Time to purchase my basketful…
Laters, Kate x
Bella’s bedroom has been painted, but that’s about it. It means it’s at an ugly transition stage when it’s a hybrid of essential bits from the past and colours from the present are all colliding to create a visual clash of cultures. There are still big decisions to be made: colours for the blinds, what colour to paint the bed, rugs to source, a new wardrobe. But in the frantic hell that is the start of the September term, the pull for peace is outweighing all of this…this weekend we’re just going to paint some art for her room. Together, with music and large cups of tea. Nothing complicated, but hopefully bold and aiming for beautiful…these are our inspirations.
The idea is to hang them over the half wall line: There’s something so appealing when art hangs over a paint line.
No idea why. But somethings in life you don’t need to question. Like tea and creating.
Laters, Kate x
It’s a mad old time at the moment – both kids starting new schools, husband working away from home during the week, scaffolding up, decorators in both inside and out. It does mean Bella’s room is finally being decorated – more on that later. But making the final decisions in consultation with her has meant much pinning on Pinterest. First there’s been finding the line between what she wants now versus what I believe would stand the test of time and take her through her teenage years…an interesting discussion. But there’s also been a feeling of walking between a real world and an imaginary one and reaching a point where the two seem to collide into a strange reality. As we’ve both been pinning and sharing inspiration it’s become more and more obvious that what looks good isn’t always practical, and if it isn’t practical, does it deserve it’s title of good? Take the kids room above, an eclectic vision of white pepped with colour and texture. But the ladder..why?
At first glance this is a minimalists wet dream with toys framed beautifully to catch the eye like tempting abstract art. Except how can a child reach them? Stand on the rocking chair? Maybe borrow the ladder from the picture above?
Same problem here. Except don’t you look at all of these and feel sorry for the kids? The toys are so carefully chosen and exceptionally curated, not because they’re fun to play with but because they’ll photograph well, give the right image..this is a sickness that is contagious..
Or else you’ll get the room where there aren’t any toys at all. Because..well..playing is just so overrated isn’t it? Far better for kids to just to suck it up that they’re going adults and get used to it, perception over substance, pretence over truth, the new modern dream…maybe I need to go and live with the Amish..or not! But embracing what is beautiful and what is practical seems a basic, honest step…
Laters, Kate x
What better way to embrace the autumn than with memories from the summer..the following are a few of the best from our soujourn in Greece where if there’s a theme running through it’s crystal water and the beauty of clouds. And the fact that for a whole month my kids only wore one swimming costume…
Laters, Kate x
Feeling the long days of summer stretching out in a creative dessert? Brain cells fried and inspiration running dry? Let me introduce you to this intriguing little video, particularly if you’re contemplating decorating a kids bedroom in the near future..
Basically it’s a Japanese art form made modern in a fun, accessible way. As much in the world is shrinking, these glorified Washi Tapes have grown and the plain colours can be baught in the UK for a pocket pleasing £11 for a 10m roll. The patterned ones are considerably more, which is a shame, at £63 a roll but both seem easy to use..and simple to remove. I can’t do a link on my iPad, but google, Haru..
Time to get stuck in?!
Laters, Kate x
There’s a promise I need to keep and that’s redecorating Bella’s room: Never an easy thing when they want identity and you’re spending the hard cash. So in the knowledge of generational divide and the spirit of finding the grey area she’s been pinning her inspiration.
(All pics Pinterest)
I don’t think I need to worry. Hashtag my girl is growing up. Fast.
Laters, Kate x