17 Nov 2015

The weather

When our youngest was 3 and a half we sold her buggy on eBay and I purchased a corporate wardrobe of clothes. All within a six week period. My head still hurts a little bit to think about it. My relationship with modes of child transportation is not dissimilar to the one many grown men have with their motor vehicles and I don't enjoy clothes shopping unless it's for denim.

The whole thing was like Bam! - your pre-school stay-at-home years are over and your world is now juggling childcare with spreadsheets and never finding the dishwasher empty. Welcome to the season of always feeling like the thing you should be doing has sneakily been gazumped by the thing you're actually doing right now and sending the kids to breakfast club when they don't want to go because there's no bread or milk in the house. Again.

I missed the season I had just left. I actually missed it in the same kind of way as I missed the last few weeks of coupledom after child#1 arrived four and a half weeks early and then wouldn't sleep for longer than 45 minutes at a time unless the Hoover was on or he was attached to a boob. Hoover frequently lost. Neighbours get a little irritated if you try to vacuum at 3am.

I don't know if new seasons are hard purely because they are hard, or if they feel harder than they actually are because they are new and different and sometimes arrive when you're still dressed for the previous one. And when you're in the middle of a season it's hard to imagine life ever being any different one day. But the days gradually get warmer and the hours of daylight resolutely increase until one day you can't actually remember the last time you wore gloves - just that you don't need them anymore so maybe now's a good time to wash them because they stink of Wotsits.

And so it is with family stuff. Kids drift into and out of seasons so gradually sometimes that things can go completely undocumented until you look at old photos or spend time with a family who are at an earlier stage.

I don't know the last time child#1 asked me to read to him. It was years and years ago. He just gradually stopped asking and other things naturally took their place.

I don't know when child#2 last lined up all his Brio engines in front of the TV so they could watch 'Thomas & Friends' with him. Or when he finally stopped head butting nearby surfaces or the floor whenever he was cross.

I don't know when child#3 stopped her post shower game of wrapping herself in a bath sheet then curling up on the bathroom floor and barking until I arrived and unwrapped the towel to unexpectedly discover a puppy. Every. Single. Night. I might have recorded it just once if I'd not been absolutely sick of the game unable to envisage a time when we'd not be playing it anymore.

Today's weather:
• Child#1 enjoys reading lines and lines of spurious code off his laptop screen to me. These words are in English but their position next to each other in big long sentences (and I use that word rather loosely) means nothing. He's not good at addressing my questions without repeating the same meaningless words back at me in a slightly impatient voice, but he IS good at testing websites and new booking sites for work, finding typos and fixing broken code.

• Child#2 is the most laid back, sociable person I know. It's like a lifetime's worth of aggression was expressed in the first 3 years of his life and now the diplomacy gene is in overdrive. He hates conflict and often mediates between opposing viewpoints (either that or it's all there, waiting to explode again at puberty).

• Child#3 spends a long time after her shower sorting through her cuddly animal collection to select her 'bedtime crew' for the night so no one feels left out. Inspired by Sue Bentley's magic puppy books, she writes stories about talking dogs, draws pictures of sparkly dogs and would love to own a real live dog. We are not getting one. We own a low maintenance cat and 2 mice, who are a year old and therefore due to die off soon. 

I don't know when life got a bit saner. Maybe the season was so mental because too many different types of weather were all happening at once. I was most definitely still dressed for a different climate when it started.

Today's outlook: 

• Child#1 can be left in charge of Child#2 and Child#3 for short periods without expecting payment or major incident.

• Due to my redundancy by stealth programme, Child#1, #2 & #3 get up, dressed and organised for the day with minimal adult intervention, then journey to and from school independently.

• We still occasionally run out foodstuffs, but Lidl is just around the corner and everyone in the house is capable of going for bread and milk.*

Forecast: Who knows? These things are never accurate anyway. There will definitely be weather of some description.

* Except the cat- who is a pure free loader.

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