Kids on a plane.

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^^Photos from my husband’s Instagram.

Much like writing your birth story and (over)sharing in excruciating detail how you wash your nappies, a post about flying with your kids for the first time is a rite of passage for any bonafide parenting blogger. I think the apprehension beforehand is such that afterwards you feel the need to declare to the Internet, ‘I did it! I survived! I did not hurl them out of the aeroplane window!’

And we did! We survived! We flew to Portugal and back without major incident and luckily for us (although not so lucky for the rest of the passengers), a delightful stag do totally stole our thunder as the people you’d most like to stab in the neck with a cocktail stick, and drowned out the noise of a squirmy baby and then some with their gripping accounts of exactly how much alcohol they had consumed in the last three hours. Gotta love the Brits abroad #proud.

My main concern before we went was packing enough stuff to keep both boys mildly entertained for the duration of the flight. I shouldn’t have worried (about that at least). The perpetual bookworm that is the Mancub already spends hours sitting on the sofa looking at books and absorbing magazines, so why I thought that three hours confined to a chair would be an issue for him I don’t know. He read his copy of Disney Princess Magazine from cover to cover on both flights (what an absolute festival of sexism that is by the way, but that’s a whole other post), and barely even noticed the aeroplane taking off.

At the other end of the ‘keeping yourself entertained’ spectrum was fifteen month old #2. Fifteen months is surely the WORST age to take a baby on a plane and I swear you couldn’t pay me to take him on a long haul flight right now. He is that heady mix of wanting to be constantly on the move, but with no ability to stay focused on any one thing for more than 3 seconds, so he worked through our selection of toys, books and stickers before we were even on the runway. We also flew out at his bedtime, but getting him to sleep with the afore mentioned stag party so close by was impossible. In fact, the only thing that kept him remotely occupied was a steady stream of snacks, from biscuits to fruit leather to sandwiches, so by the end he was not only exhausted, but also entirely wired on sugar, an excellent combination to be sure. In short: if you’re flying with a toddler, fill all your available luggage space with food.

However, having focused on the potential for disaster in the air, I totally overlooked getting us through the airport, forgetting that we’d be there for nearly as long as our flight. Having arranged to borrow a pushchair at our destination, I naively thought that we would be okay with two kids and one sling between them. Hahaha!

#2 is content to be in the Ergo, as long as I am moving at a steady pace. If I stand still for more than 15 seconds (ie. to queue for security, queue to get into the gate, queue for an interminably long time to get onto the plane), he wriggles and squirms to get down before beginning a never ending campaign of whining until at last you relent and just let him run around desks and security checkpoints, pulling things off conveyor belts, because you’re embarrassment at being seemingly unable to control your toddler is preferable to the whiningOHMYGODSTOPWHINING!!!

The Mancub on the other hand was more than happy to walk through the airport. Totally happy to cruise along at a rate of approximately a mile a day, taking in every screen, every item for sale in every shop, every vehicle spotted out of a window. Our gate was a twenty minute walk away at a normal pace, so we were faced with the choice of either dragging him along the polished floors by his sleeve, carrying him the entire way, or nearly missing our flight because we indulged his desire to spend ten minutes carefully observing the patterns on a chair. Obviously we went with the latter, because we are ridiculous.

Unlike Gatwick, who don’t give you anything for free, Faro airport have banks of pushchairs available to borrow, which caused my husband to almost cry with joy coming home. #2 is always content to be wheeled around, and having him in a pushchair meant I could pop The Mancub in the Ergo if we needed to get anywhere quicker than at snail’s pace. Never again will I travel without that option.

Others things to note: Easyjet’s inflight baby changing facilities are appalling. Very glad that I took a fold up change pad. // €5 for a small tub of Pringles and a bottle of water. Gravely regretted packing a million snacks for the boys, but none for us. // Ears. #2 has been pretty miserable since his flying experiences due to a heavy cold plus cabin pressure, which apparently equals all sorts of pain. Our health visitor assured me this is normal, although unpleasant, but I certainly wished I had packed a sugar free lolly for him to suck and some Calpol for the following day.

In between times there was also the small matter of HOLIDAY! Three glorious days of sunshine sandwiched into this miserable British winter and thanks to my parents’ impeccable babysitting service, we managed to eat out, without the kids, for all three nights. This alone was worth the flights. The Mancub loved scurrying around on the beach collecting hermit crabs and sea anemones and hurling himself into every available body of water, usually fully clothed because HOLIDAY! SUNSHINE! FREEDOM!

I should probably have dedicated a thousand words to that instead, but there’s something about flying with kids that you need to get out of your system afterwards. So there it is.

Reader Question: Photography.

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^^An old photo of me taking a photo.

Recently I have received a couple of questions about my photography, which is um… embarrassing. Because I know so very, very little about photography. Nevertheless I will do my best to explain how I take photos and make them look half decent on next to no knowledge, (if you actually know anything about stuff, look away now. Richard).

So, I have a confession. While I know what we’ll call ‘jack shit’ about the process of taking photographs, I do have access to a rather lovely camera, mainly because my husband knows what we’ll call ‘significantly more’ about these things than I, and has a surplus of rather lovely cameras that I can borrow. I shoot most of the photos on my blog on a Cannon 5D, which I’m sure is incredibly depressing to many of you, especially when you also learn that I basically stick it on Auto and let the camera do the work. I’m kind of cringing writing this you guys, so be kind okay?

The fact that it’s an excellent camera means that as long as there’s lots of natural light and no particularly rapid movement, I can still get photos with a nice depth of field and wotnot, but without any actual skill. I would like to learn! I really would! Find me some time! I always use a 50mm lens, so I don’t even need to worry about zooming in or anything fancy, and I just do my best to focus on the eyes and take a bunch, so that maybe one nails it. I delete a lot of out of focus photos.

For me, with my limited skill set, the most important thing I have at my disposal is composition, which I’m okay at. I try to vary the different angles I will shoot from in one sequence, clear clutter from the background so it looks a bit slicker and, as I’m usually shooting small children (that sounds weird), i get on the floor with them, so i can really see what they’re up to. Plus, like I said, natural light is my friend and I don’t bother shooting if it’s dark and dingy, as I know I won’t get good results.

In terms of what I do after that: I just upload them onto my iPad and use a really basic editing App called Jazz to crop in, sharpen things up a little and change the colour balance and exposure to make it look a bit cooler. If I’m feeling extra fancy I might add some fake light leaks. Hah!

Recently, I was also gifted a very bruised and battered iPhone 4. It doesn’t work as a phone, but it has a camera and Internet access, so I now have an Instagram account >>>> (see the sidebar), and I tend to use that as my point and shoot when I’m out and about, rather than lugging my SLR around, unless it’s for good reason. Then I use my big camera to take sequences for the blog or if we’re doing something worth recording properly for prosperity.

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^^My taped together iPhone and evidence that I don’t even know how to photoshop out a bit of dirt from the top of my tumble drier.

I should also add that while about 90% of the photos on my blog are taken by me, there are the odd ones here and there that of significantly better quality. These are invariably taken by my husband, either because the light was poor, but I really wanted a good photo, or because it was a special occasion like a birthday, or because the sequence has me in it (obviously). But the whole point of my blog is for me to pull all of my day to day photos together in one place, so I don’t think it’s too deceptive to say that they are mainly mine and I usually declare if it’s someone else’s photo, unless I’m in it, when it goes without saying.

I hope that answers any questions. I think nowadays everyone wants to be a photographer and I understand why. I have huge amounts of respect for people who actually understand the process and the art form, and I don’t think that should ever be under valued. But for the rest of us, I think get the best camera you can, and then snap away until you get a few decent pictures. This advice has served me well over three years of blogging and I’m glad I have so many lovely, if not technically perfect photos to remember my children’s day to day lives by.

What about you? Any tips for a novice photographer to make a limited amount of knowledge go further?

Hair.

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I like long hair on men. Some of my favourite men (my husband included), wear their hair past their shoulders, so I was never going to be in a rush to cut my son’s hair into a classic ‘boy crop’. It has never struck me as particularly feminine either. I know in reality women are far more likely to have long hair, but I dunno, Axl Rose? That’s some serious testosterone going on there, no?

As a result, I just kind of let the Mancub’s hair do it’s own thing, growing frustratingly slowly for my liking actually, but finally making it past the nape of his neck in soft little baby wisps. I think it looks cute, and he loves it long (I have in fact asked him several times if he would like his hair cut shorter, always to be met with a very decisive ‘no’), and he even lets me drag a brush through it occasionally these days.

I have already written extensively about how I have no problem whatsoever with my boys choosing to do or wear things that are typically deemed ‘girly’. They can play with whatever toys they like and pick out their shoes from whichever side of the shop they are drawn to, wear that dress if they so choose. In other words, I am fully prepared to support them in their girliness. Which is why I guess this has caught me off guard a little, because I don’t really associate long hair with being girly (my husband is 6’6 and typically pairs his long hair with a beard and a biker jacket, so effeminate is not a word I would ever use to describe him), and so it honestly hadn’t occurred to me that long hair on a boy would cause such utter confusion.

To be clear, he is, since his hair grew past his neckline, mistaken for a girl almost 100% of the time by strangers. Admittedly it’s an easy mistake to make when he’s in his princess dress, or his pink leggings. But he can also be wearing his most boyish clothes (black trousers, oatmeal jumper, blue and silver jacket, carrying a toy dinosaur), and people will still tell me, ‘Oh, isn’t she cute!’.

I get it. I once, mortifyingly, mistook a boy for a girl when I was a supply teacher, and referred to him as such in front of the whole class (cue many giggles and very red cheeks on both of us). When meeting new children, especially those in school uniform, hair and names can be the quickest signifiers of gender, and when the child has a unisex name (as he did, as mine does), it can be easy to jump to the wrong conclusion. Most people are profusely embarrassed, and so I rarely correct them and instead leave them to work it out for themselves if they’re around long enough to do so.

I have discussed this with the Mancub. Occasionally I will say, ‘Oh, he thought you were a girl, that’s nice isn’t it?’, to which he always seems very blasé. When we have talked about hair cuts I have explained that sometimes people will think he’s a girl if he keeps his long hair (without attaching any negative connotations), and he’s still excited to grow it long like his (female) cousin. In short: it doesn’t bother him. Hurrah! I win feminism! My boy is happy to be mistaken for a girl!

But does it bother me?

Sometimes, yes. Dammit.

The frequency, the relentlessness of it bothers me a little. That people don’t take the time to check, or to ask his name before telling me something cute they overheard my ‘daughter’ saying. That he is dismissed so quickly as something he’s not, even if it’s not necessarily offensive, but because it’s incorrect.

But these are strangers, not people with a vested interested in my children. Just strangers making an off hand comment, and a fair assumption, based on appearance and their best guess at the time.

So I don’t let it bother me often, because life is too short. Unlike his hair.

fifteen month update.

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Appearance and Growth:
Hurrah! All 16 teeth are through now, leaving only the last 4 molars to go, but they should be about a year away. The change in his temperament has been dramatic and we won’t be giving him up for adoption after all.

On the move:
A week or so ago a game changer occurred: he learned to get up to standing by himself. This means that if he falls over he can get back up again and is now walking the bulk of the time. Officially a toddler *sob*.

Food and drink:
His appetite has diminished a bit of late, as I guess he’s not growing quite so rapidly. As a result he’s becoming a little more… Discerning? I definitely wouldn’t go as far as to say that he’s being fussy, but he doesn’t eat absolutely anything like he used to. Although crumbs (and general dirt) off the floor are still his favourite, so not that discerning.

Playing:
Hs favourite things to play with are essentially toys with lots of small pieces that he can throw all over the place, collect back together, throw again, and then leave for me to tidy up. Pots of pencils are a favourite, as are jigsaw puzzles or anything where you don’t want to lose a bit. He was caught red handed the other day posting the cards from Bird Bingo through the floorboards.

Sleep:
Same. Old. Story. Early to bed, early to rise.

Language:
Despite understanding tons, and being able to identify lots of objects and animals using signs and sounds, #2 doesn’t have many actual words yet aside from ‘look’, ‘deh’, ‘dat’ and a few other things along the same lines. Recently though he’s started saying a few affectations, such as ‘Wow!’ and ‘Yay!’, and he is getting better at copying sounds and words that we make.

Personality:
Honestly, since his final tooth came through it’s like we’ve been gifted a new child. Of course he still has his grumpy moments (when it’s time to get out of the bath – he’s perfected the jelly arms), but he is just so freaking lovely at the moment. So happy and silly and smiley and ticklish. The only time he gets in a really foul mood is when he wakes up too early in the morning (I’m talking pre 5am), which is pretty rare and if he wakes up too early from a nap (before two hours), which is a little less rare, but still only once a week maybe. Other than that he is pretty damn chilled and even nappy changes are a relative breeze these days. I’ll take it while it lasts, because I know full well that the onset of toddler tantrums are only just around the corner.

Letting go.

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The Mancub has started preschool.

He goes three mornings a week from 9am until midday, term time only, fully subsidised.

He cries every morning.

He cries, my heart breaks a little and I wonder: Is this the right way to prepare our children for the world? To bit by bit break them into the fact that after years of being there to console their every cry, to hold their hand through every difficult experience, that from now on, we’re just going to shove them into a room and walk away stoically, and tell them to be brave and that it’s what they have to do.

I wonder: If I do this will he gradually embrace the group activities that have always made him so anxious? Will he slowly move away from his key worker and the safety of the book corner, where he sits, unsure of where he fits into all of these children confidently running around, playing with Duplo, crashing cars into each other, dressing up as nurses, taking each other’s temperatures and doling out imaginary medicine.

I wonder: If I don’t do this will school be an unmitigated nightmare? Will he inevitably be that child that clings to me at the school gates, older now, but still so attached. The other parents will look and think, ‘Wow, she must have really spoiled him’ and I’ll think, ‘Wow, I probably did’.

For the first few weeks he sobbed, brutally, every morning. He cried on and off throughout his time there, sometimes distracted, but always returning to tears. Not eating the snack at the free flow snack table, not helping himself to water from the water station. And then I’d arrive to collect him and instead of running to me and dissolving into my arms like I so wanted him to, he would just be so, so angry. It was as if all of the energy it had taken him to just keep it together came flooding out in a ball of rage, so he cried all the way home as well, and after so much bloody crying he was incapable of doing anything other than watching episodes of Octonauts on repeat, which really contributed to my confidence that I was doing the right thing.

He’s been going for four weeks now. There are still tears each morning, but drop offs are swift and I have gained the strength to just take him in, kiss him, and let his key worker do the rest. I always call ten minutes later and by then he’s fine, playing happily with the animals or the dinosaurs or a fishing game. He stays happy now, the whole time he’s there. Some days he comes home with pictures he’s made and tells me about the snack he ate and who he sat next to. He sits in a circle for story time, he enjoyed watching the others play with the giant parachute, he is no longer terrified when everyone sings the good morning song.

And when I come to collect him he runs out with his back pack on, smiling. It no longer requires all of his energy just to keep it together, so he now has a little left over at the end of a session for me. He chatters animatedly on the way home, asks where we’re going that afternoon.

I no longer feel as if I’m breaking him.

Which is nice.

A Winter’s Tale.

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Is anyone else sick of winter yet?

Summer is rich pickings for a stay at home parent with two small kids in tow: an afternoon spent gossiping with other Mums in the park, lazing in the garden reading books on a rug, strolling to the shops for an ice lolly and then strolling back again with sticky fingers. There seem to be endless possibilities when the sun is shining and the weather is hot.

But oh, the hassle of cajoling two of them into thick socks and snow suits and boots and hats and mittens. All for a measly walk to the local park where you stand perishing, pushing a pair of swings, waiting until you’ve killed enough time that you can trudge back home again. Just so you can say you all got some fresh air today.

No, Winter is time to embrace the great indoors. Not my strong suit I confess (I get a little cabin feverish at the best of times), but we have had some good times of late. Simple times, playing, indoors. That Maps Book? By Aleksandea and Daniel Mizielinska, and worth its weight in gold if you too have a child who loves to pore over busy pictures, spotting the details, and most importantly the different types of whales. It keeps The Mancub occupied through many a morning indoors. That and the Disney Princess compilation on Spotify.

Now, how many days until Spring?

Sick day.

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There have been tears around here of late. The Mancub is beginning the process of settling into new preschool and it has been… rocky. I will summon the energy to write about that soon I promise, I just need to bury my head in the sand a little longer.

Of course along with a new school comes new germs and inevitable sickness. So, both emotionally and physically drained, we spent the bulk of the weekend indoors, sheltered from the elements, trying not to lose our tiny minds.

And of course just when my inclinations were telling me just to snuggle under a blanket on the sofa and hibernate, what my children needed was some attention. And some fun. So when I saw this activity on the ever inspiring How We Montessori, I finally found a use for one of my husband’s old photography backdrops.

This is one of those ideal activities to do with children: It is inherently enjoyable, large scale, almost mischievous to be drawing on something so big. And yet, so many learning opportunities present themselves – art, science, literacy skills, all organically melded into one. It could easily be extended for older children (in fact I used to do a variation on this with my year fours when we were studying the skeleton), but is also fun for older babies who like to suck on crayons and turn themselves into tiny goths too.

I didn’t have high hopes for the weekend I’ll be honest. But sometimes it pays to raise your parenting game. Just a little.

fourteen month update.

Oops, with Christmas, new year and general laziness this one is a couple of weeks late, which means there’s all the more to report. Anyway, here is little #2, looking cute in his Christmas lion suit.

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Appearance and Growth:
This mullet! Guys, what to do with this mullet? It is beyond control and reason, but I can’t quite bring myself to give either of my babies a haircut. He’s so European.
In teething news, all four first molars are through (Hallelujah!), and his top and bottom right canines as well. Two more to come and then he should get a break until after his second birthday (fingers crossed).

On the move:
Man, after weeks and WEEKS of a few steps here and a few steps there, something has clicked and suddenly this boy is toddling all over the place. The balance is still tipped towards crawling, but he can happily walk the length of the room, turn corners and even carry a small toy or book with him. I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t been super impatient for this turn of events, so I’m glad he’s finally decided that walking is for him after all.

Food and drink:
This one loves his milk. The mancub was never too fussed about cow’s milk, whereas #2 has a full 200ml cup when he wakes up and a couple of smaller cups through the day. He also eats a small meal every few hours including a big bowl of porridge for his breakfast and then anything else he can get his hands on. His current favourite is baked beans.

Playing:
This month #2 has become a lot more dexterous, which means he’s interested in a much bigger range of toys and will sit and play for longer on his own. He completes the ubiquitous Ikea lighthouse independently and he got some Play Mobil for Christmas, which he loves. He’s starting to show an interest in toy cars and things with wheels, but honestly, his love of books prevails and Maisy Mouse still rules. The other thing he currently loves is action rhymes and he is starting to be able to join in with a few of the actions to songs like Five Currant Buns In A Baker’s Shop. He’s starting to role play a little and will jabber away on the phone and cram brick biscuits into my mouth with fervour.

Sleep:
Still sleeping from around 6.30pm til 5.30am without waking. I keep trying to shift it a little later in the hopes that he will wake up later, but to no avail. Any tips? He is still napping for a couple of hours at around midday at home, which is probably too late, I don’t know. I feel like we’re so close to a perfect schedule, but I don’t know how to make the final few tweaks.

Language:
This past month he has started picking up a few more signs and will sign bird, sun and star when he sees pictures of them. If you ask if wants more of something he will either sign more by clapping his hands together and say, ‘Muh-muh-muh!’, or shake his head emphatically. He is able to point out lots of things around the room including me, his Daddy, his brother and himself and uses all of our names pretty accurately too. He understands so much now and will go and get the toys and books you ask him for and can do a bunch of things on request, my favourite being if you ask him to sing a song – he will do a short ‘la la la’, before giving himself a clap.

Personality:
There are so many aspects to his character right now. He is definitely going through another bout of separation anxiety, so there’s that. It usually hits hardest in the lead up to lunch and dinner (go figure), so making food with a child quite literally clinging to the apron strings is a joy. He is also getting a little sassy in his old age and will push his older brother away if he is having a story read to him or if he is playing with a coveted toy. Luckily the Mancub finds this very funny and says, ‘Baby is telling me to go away’.
He’s in that stage where he finds pleasure in doing the simplest things over and over and over. Putting something in a container, tipping it out, putting it back in, repeat, forever. It keeps him entertained though. And of course he’s always game for a cuddle and more recently a big opened mouthed kiss. Nice.

Best of 2014: According To An Easy World.

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BEST ALBUM LISTENED TO: Guys, this year, I actually listened to some music that was… released this year! I know! Go me! I still fall hard and predictably for girls singing folk songs, and my favourite of 2014 was Burn Your Fire For No Witness by Angel Olsen. If I had any control at over what gets played on the stereo here that’s what would be playing a lot. But I don’t. So I should probably give a shout out to Futurology by The Manics, because like Rewind The Film before it, it provides a continuous and ubiquitous soundtrack to our family’s life.

BEST SINGLE DOWNLOADED: Is it wrong to find it funny that my three year old pretends to feed his toy Anaconda sticky buns, because, ‘his Anaconda don’t want none unless he gets buns Hun’? The watching of Nicki Minaj’s video for Anaconda can only be described as a truly life enriching experience. Apart from for you Dad.

BEST GIG: The. Holy. Bible. 20. I think you know that you are officially old when you pull a muscle in your neck whilst dancing at a Manics gig. But my husband and I ran around the pubs of Camden like giddy teenagers, because WE’RE OUT! WE’RE OUT IN LONDON!

BEST FILM SEEN: I loved going to see The Grand Budapest Hotel at the cinema, because it is just one of those films where every single shot is perfectly choreographed and beautiful and I might have whooped out loud a little when Bill Murray finally shows up.

BEST TV SHOW WATCHED: This year we watched all five seasons of Breaking Bad. TV will always seem a little bit shitter in comparison from now on.

BEST THING BOUGHT: This was the year of frugality. We tried so hard to really think about the things we were buying and to make fewer impulse purchases. Maybe next year will be the year of mindless conspicuous consumption. Or at the very least I’ll buy a phone that actually works.

BEST WEBSITE VISITED: I still love all of my old favourites: Amalah, Advice Smackdown on AlphaMom, Janet Lansbury, How We Montessori, Small Things, Sweet Madeleine and Love Taza to name a few of the websites that I check in on most days. But my favourite new blog this year has been Renegade Mothering, which I love so much I have to work hard not to just reblog every single thing Janelle writes, so much does she speak the truth. If you are a mother, or a decent human being, you should read this blog and emote.

BEST TUMBLR HEARTED: My friend recently sent me a meme that read something like, ‘Tumblr: insulting you for things you never even knew you could be insulted for’. Which is funny, because yes, Tumblr is the most right on space in the Internet, but also, I am not ashamed to say that I have learned so much from the incredible right on women that I follow, who post about gender and intersectionality and race and trans* rights and make me think about feminism and stuff generally in ways that I had never even considered before. Tuning into mainstream media after being on Tumblr is always a shock, because you’re like, woah, why is no one talking about this? Why is no one else this angry? There are literally a ton of women writing intelligently and thought provokingly about the sorts of issues I’ve just mentioned, but my top favourite this year has been the wonderful Stone Fruit Juices.

BEST THING THAT HAPPENED IN 2014: The first part of this year was heavy. I had a two year old and a baby and achieving anything else apart from the absolute bare minimum seemed like a huge stretch (including, but not limited to, staying up past 8pm). The last few months I have finally started getting some sleep again and thanks to my parents being able to babysit for us, we have had some good nights out as a couple and with friends. Because, yes I love my children more than I thought was humanly possible, but also, my husband is pretty rad too and it feels good to be able to spend time doing stuff together other than looking at each other in blind panic and crying.

WHAT I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO IN 2015: Seeing The Decemberists and Josie Long in February and The Manics again in June. Getting some sun in Portugal towards the end of Winter and hopefully some camping in the Summer. And maybe, just maybe, our first weekend away without the kids. IMAGINE!

The Snowman: A weekend kind of treat.

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Because my husband often works from home, and I don’t work at all (or work every day depending on your perspective), it can often feel as if we have lost sight of those signposts that tell us when to wind down, when to relax, when to take time off and just do… nothing. In other words life is either one long weekend, or we have no weekends at all, and more often than not we err towards the latter. I often still hanker after those days as a teacher, when I lived in a constant merry go round of half terms and holidays, just because they gave shape to my year, to my weeks, (although the actual teaching I am doing fine without).

Lately we have been making an effort to up the number of days that feel like ‘days off’, as opposed to just more of the same: getting the children up, fed, out of the house, to bed, up again, keeping everything vaguely clean and tidy, not dropping any balls. It can be hard, because the children don’t do brilliantly when there isn’t any structure, and my husband’s iPhone is always on and seemingly always buzzing, but we are trying.

So this Sunday, when we were still eating toast in our pyjamas at 10am and the Mancub asked if could ‘watch somefling’, I just had one of those, ‘fuck it’, moments, fished out The Snowman on DVD and put the laptop on the kitchen table. It probably says a great deal about me that this is my idea of spontaneity, but the kids were thrilled with their treat nonetheless, and it definitely gave the sense of ‘weekendness’ that has been missing.

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Side note: Am I officially an emotional wreck or is it normal to feel the lump in your throat before David Bowie is even off the screen? Who knew pencil crayons could create such pathos?