Friday, April 15, 2011

The rhythm of the holidays

I've heard a few people talking lately about getting into the 'rhythm' of the holidays. If we have any rhythm, this is it.

I awake to the words 'Mum, wobble my tooth' and a child or two leaving my bed. I doze, trying to sleep in. Then awake to the sounds of a recorder, a clarinet and/or a whistle. Sometimes I awake to the sound of the children running their own dance school in the kitchen, and a fight about someone not following someone else's choreography.

I turn on the computer and start working on something I'm working on. Matilda might bring me a cup of tea. The Days of the Week songs for Senior Dance Group. I've learned Wednesday Girl by The Jet Sets and Thursday Morning by Giles, Giles and Fripp (a precursor to King Crimson). I conclude there is definitely a gap in the market for songs about Wednesday and Thursday. I'm also putting together a cookbook for school. A Fruit and Veg cookbook. It needs a snappy name (Zucchini Fettuccine?) but everything I suggest is declared lame by the kids. Actually, that's my only suggestion. And yes, my uni assignment - the major assignment of the course. Slowly slowly.

Then I realise we are supposed to be somewhere in half an hour, and we go into panic mode. Hang out the washing. Everybody have something to eat and get dressed. Off we go. I bring my uni notes with me. While we're out a child will break a shoe. On our way home we buy new shoes, which, when we get home the child will decide she doesn't like and we need to return the shoes to the shop the next day.

When we return I do some cleaning up, trying to get the girls to clean up too. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't. We have tasks written on a schedule that rarely get done. I tell them, daily, that I need to implement pocket money so I can withhold it as punishment, a la The Brady Bunch, a language they understand. I tell them, daily, that I would charge them 10c each for every hair band and hair clip that I pick up. I'd make $3 a day. That's an annual holiday for me, right there.

They play on the trampoline, and I throw the ball around with Matilda and Clancy, and we shoot some hoops, because they've got into the netball team, which is a new activity for them. Or they do painting or a craft activity at the kitchen table. My proudest two hours of mothering have been when the children have been painting whilst listening to a poetry CD. They did that twice. When the CD ended they started fighting, but for those two one hours, I was very pleased with myself.

I make dinner. This week we're riffing on potatoes, with a salad plate or fruit plate. Before dinner, while the kids are watching tv, stretching, and doing the splits or high kicks, we all have a piece of chocolate. Fair trade organic chocolate, so I figure it's OK. We eat dinner and talk. Sometimes Clancy and Banjo change their hairstyles for dinner. Watching The Brady Bunch is the best thing to have happened to Clancy's hair - after years of tears trying to get out tangles she now brushes it every day. I might play some music I like - Nick Drake in colder weather. We talk about the day and the plans for tomorrow.

Food has revived the children, and Banjo wants to perform. A dance that requires the wearing of sequins. Actually, for Banjo, even helping with cooking requires the wearing of sequins. The children might wash. Then, after much to-ing and fro-ing, they're off the bed, with me reading a story, or singing jazz standards. Clancy likes to sing along, even if it is a song she hasn't heard before. Banjo likes to interrupt. I like to plough through the interruptions then remind Banjo how lucky she is to have a mother who can hold a tune. Some children's mothers are tone deaf! After all that, and about three rounds of goodnight kisses, they want to read in bed. Ok, for a little while.

Then I'm back to the computer and working on something I'm working on until they settle to sleep. Is that a rhythm?

We still haven't set up the elastics in the back yard (between the trampoline, the washing line and the tree), we haven't done any sewing (we were planning to make Clarice Bean tunics), we haven't had many playdates, we haven't been practising the times tables. Maybe I can add those notes to the tune next week.

1 comment:

MaidInAustralia said...

What a lovely post. It sounds like the school holidays I used to have, where not a lot was scheduled, except for maybe a few dentist and doctor visits (ugh), and shoe-buying expeditions. (double ugh). But there was lots of messing around with bikes and pets, and catching yabbies at the creek which Mum would then cook for us to eat. we could spend a day yabbying, especially riding our bikes to the butcher to beg for scraps of meet.
This year, I really wanted to take my kids away somewhere but everything was too expensive. They were both quite cross with me when they caught me trawling last minute websites for late deals. "You don't have to waste your money Mumma," said Miss 8, ever the practical one. "We can have lots of fun here".
And so we have.
There has been imaginative play. Failed attempts at painting eggs for Easter (only because Mumma forgot to add the vinegar to the colour). Playing with the neighbourhood kids, picnics in the park, walks through bushland, baking biscuits and slices.
They are tired at night and sleeping well. It's possibly one of the nicest 'holidays' we've had.