…and goodwill to all small children.
Weekday evenings in the Chaotic Household are often fraught with peril – not for nothing is that time between 5pm and 7.30pm known as the “witching hour” (or witching 2.5 hours!). Often I return to my happy home after a long day at the coal face to find one screaming, one crying and one dispairing (take your pick from husband, gorgeous girl and cheeky girl). And I then have to wade in with sympathy, discipline, dinner, washing, PE kits and all the other paraphenalia of a typical school-day evening.
However this evening when I came through the door at 6.30pm all was calm and serene.
Gorgeous girl – who has been desperately upset this last week over some issues at school (a falling out with a friend that resulted in her (and only her) being moved from one table to another) – was clearly pleased that B and I had been into school to talk directly to the teacher. (Almost a status symbol in her class…”so-and-so’s mum came in to see Mrs X to tell her that so-and-so was upset”). Mrs X, while not completely convincing B and I of her reasonings, had nonetheless promised to have a talk with Gorgeous Girl and explain that the table moving was not a punishment but really a way of helping Mrs X out with some other children on the new table. I’m not entirely sure that this sort of waffle is going to pacify GG – she’s a bit quick on the uptake for that and is still disappointed that she’s on another table – however she’s prepared to wait a couple of weeks till after half term and see how things are going.
However much she did or didn’t see through the teachers explanations she was clearly a much happier girl tonight – not so sentitive, touchy and liable to fly off the handle at the slightest thing which is what we’ve had for nearly a week now.
It never ceases to amaze me how much little things in their lives assume such massive importance. I always try to find time to talk to each of the girls individually every evening, to find out how their day went (what they had for school dinners, who they played with) but in the midst of cooking dinner, doing reading practice and trying to iron a school shirt for the next day etc. etc. it’s all too easy to fall back into “half listening half doing what I’m doing”. But today showed me again how important it is to find time to really talk and listen to the girls and their concerns.
Cheeky Girl – who would win gold medals for tantruming and wanting her own way – was also calm and joyful. What had caused this (rare) moment of peace and tranquillity…….Barnaby.
Barnaby is the class bear.
Those of you with children in infant school will have immediately cottoned on to the joy that was in Cheeky Girls heart tonight. SHE had been selected to take home the Class Bear for the evening. Never has a such a scruffy, unwashed soft toy been coveted by so many small children. This bloomin’ bear is the bane of every mother in the class I’m sure – as when it comes home you have to “do stuff” with the bear and then write about it in Barnaby’s book and then draw a picture / take a photograph.
This is all very well but in the Chaotic Household – those hours between 5 and 7.30 are pretty well filled – to the minute! For a start B usually collects the girls around 5.10 from the after school club so by the time he gets them (and all their bags etc.) together out to the car and home here its often closer to 5.45. He then runs around preparing snacks / tea depending on what they’ve already eaten.
I get through the door anytime from 6pm onwards – and from then on we’re on the downward slope through reading practice, homework, play, talking about the day, bath, story and bed. The insertion of Barnaby into the mix is enough to throw what is a barely balanced system completely off kilter.
And I have to admit….. I don’t always have the enthusiasm or energy for these extra curricular events at the end of a long day.
However tonight, CG was full of excitement – she wanted to write her words herself because they are starting to put together simple words in class now. So I sat down (after the chat with GG) and we started the write up… slowly very slowly… but you know she was so chuffed with herself doing it all, even spelling some simple words herself – the spark in her eyes when she was writing it all down she was loving it.
And again I was struck by the fact that sometimes it feels like I just don’t have enough time to do all this and enjoy these moments.
So I must strive to do better at this … to stop the “listening with half an ear while keeping the whole shebang on the road” process and take more time just to be with them and with them wholeheartedly.