Sunday, 17 March 2019

Accidental Kissing


As a treat I nipped into the supermarket and bought some branded ice creams for after lunch. As I returned to the car holding the box aloft there was excitement and jubilation (which rather belies how infrequently I do such spontaneous treat-buying.) Eddie, acting without thinking, embraced his brother in delight. 

Gilby was utterly horrified - and outraged. "Uggh! Mum! Eddie just kissed me on the cheek!"

"Well," I countered, "I think that's a rather lovely thing for a brother to do to a brother."

"No it isn't," squealed Eddie, wiping his lips. "I'm totally never doing that again!"

Oh. Brotherly love, then.

Currently reading: Winter by Ali Smith

Sunday, 24 February 2019

Growing Vocabulary

Last day of the holidays and an unexpected treat: tickets to the Arsenal game at home to Southampton; courtesy of friends of ours who were unable to go. So big sister was bribed to look after Eddie - while Gilby and I skipped up to London. A packed lunch to eat on the train, and a £2 child train ticket (get in, half-term economy financing!)  and we were on our way. Even the rail replacement service (and the lack of parking at the station we drove to in order to avoid the  rail replacement) couldn't stop us from being in plenty of time for the game. Pocket money was proudly spent on purchasing a programme: A momento of Gilby's third visit to the Emirates and second premier league match.

Unlike on Gilby's previous two visits, the Arsenal scored first: a Lacazette flick just six minutes in. Hooray! And they played beautifully for the first half, with a second goal coming from Mikhitaryan about ten minutes later. I was rubbing my hands together. This was going to be an easy afternoon of joyful football-watching.

But even though it was the holidays, it definitely managed to be an 'educational' visit. Because it is, well, rather sweary in that North Bank. 

Gilby's vocabulary, therefore, has expanded in some unfortunate ways.

He now knows all sorts of ways to describe the ref's parentage and sexual inclinations, as well as some adjectives to describe some issues with his eyesight; not to mention some synonyms for various body parts belonging to the opposition players.

Hey ho. That's football. I dread to think what words he might have learned had we gone behind. 

Final score two nil. Somehow. The less said about our performance in the second half, the better. Which made it all the swearier up there in the North Bank. So. All good for increasing the word bank.

Currently reading: The Book of Dust by Philip Pullman

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Half Term Plate Spinning

The character of half term definitely changes as the children get older.

For starters, I get disproportionately cross at the wheedling morning conversation that begins, What are we doing today?

'Nothing' is apparently not a satisfactory answer to this question. And supervising half term basically requires a qualification in plate spinning.

Because, after shooting myself in the foot by starting the week with the surprise 10am big screen showing of Spider-Man Spirals into the Super Spiderverse - might have got that title wrong, it was something like that - first thing on Monday morning, I seem unable to top the wow factor.

(There was an ulterior motive to this uncharacteristically generous and thoughtful surprise though; it bought me two hours of precious scrapbooking time with a fellow mum while they were safely ensconced in the cinema with secreted home-made popcorn. Oh, and the tickets were less than £3 each.)

Since then I have tried to avoid a descent into the eleventh circle of hell (death by screens and devices) by: attempting to make homework 'fun' (that didn't turn out terribly well), encouraging drawing and doodling with actual pens, supervising fudge-making, driving eldest on a five hour round trip to visit her cousins, and even dragging out the unbelievably faffy chocolate coin maker of a few Christmases ago which tries my patience entirely since there are 35 steps to make a single sodding coin.

And it's only Wednesday! Happy half term.

Currently Reading:
The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco

Sunday, 13 January 2019

Droning On

Today hasn't gone terribly well, thus far.

I woke up with a horribly stiff neck causing a lot of pain whenever I turn to my left hand side. An old netball injury occasionally requires expensive trips to the osteopath. I'll get my wallet. 

Note to self: remove superfluous magazine-style cushions and pillows that have been artfully arranged across the bed before going to sleep. 

I came downstairs to be confronted by a utility room that was decorated in mountains of 'loose' dog poo. Not to be outdone, the cat seems to have joined in, for good measure. The description that I gave to a sleeping Hearth-Father was a little less measured, but probably not fit for blog post publication. 

Note to self: do not feed leftover chilli to the dog.

But the big story of the day came just after breakfast. Here is a picture of a sad little boy, holding an empty box:

Yesterday he enjoyed the rare treat of a visit to the toy shop. After much deliberation he chose to spend all his Christmas money on a drone. Said drone disappeared this morning on its maiden flight. Very possibly, it is perched atop our roof, or stuck inside our chimney. Looking upwards and searching the skies has done little to help my neck pain.  The strategic deployment of neighbours at upper storey windows has failed to yield any results. It is like it has disappeared into thin air. (Please let there not be any untoward activity at nearby airports this afternoon.)

Note to self: ensure seven-year-old has achieved full license before allowing solo drone flying.

Just about to attempt to cook roast lunch in an attempt to restore family harmony. What could possibly go wrong?

Currently reading: Roar by Celia Ahern

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

It's All Greek To Me

It has been a busy old week with regards to the combined demands of primary school and social commitments. Monday was 'Superhero Day' for Year 2. Eddie hasn't worn a superhero costume for a couple of years, so some improvisation was needed. 

Yesterday was 'Forest Schools' followed by a party at a local farm park. This required the sorting out of a present for the birthday girl - on a school night - and, with an after work meeting and ferrying the kids to clubs until 9pm, I left Daddy in charge. He surpassed himself. I had expected a tenner stuffed in a card, but the present was thoughtfully chosen, wrapped and delivered on time.  

Today was 'Greek Day' for Year 5, so, following the success of mid-week birthday-gate, Hearth-Father was promoted to costume design for the first time. With hindsight, I don't know why I have found the last few years remotely stressful. I should have handed over responsibilities a long time ago. I may be about to announce my retirement. Somehow he managed this:

And is utterly forgiven for raiding the wardrobe for my sandals and destroying a pillow case. I have no idea about the authenticity, but am overwhelmed by the commitment. After nineteen years I have discovered my husband's secret dressmaking skill. The needle and cotton are his domain from now on.

Currently reading: The Mere Wife by Maria Dahvana Headley

Saturday, 22 December 2018

A Variation On 'The Dog Ate My Homework'

As a teacher, I have heard every excuse for late or missing homework over more than two decades.

At home, I'm very good at checking on the homework produced by Gertie. Obviously I want her to succeed and all, but I also don't want her to get into trouble with any of my colleagues now that she is in secondary school. Might be a bit awkward. It helps that she is relatively organised, and that the homework is emailed to me directly as well as to her through the school's automated system.

Gilby isn't so good at motivating himself to do anything that isn't football, so I've also had half an eye on his homework over the years and we've had a number of Sunday afternoon 'prompts'. (He might call them 'rows'.)

But in the tradition of third children having to fend for themselves, it seems I have rather abandoned Eddie - and so he's had to organise himself for a while. And when I say 'a while' that probably means his entire school career after the first fortnight.

But it's holiday time and Christmas is all wrapped up, so I thought it would be good to show interest.  It provoked mixed feelings, therefore, when I came across this little gem in his homework book this morning:

Didn't seem quite fair to berate him for the spelling, missed capitals, etc. There is something refreshingly - and frighteningly - honest about seven-year-olds.

Currently reading: Things A Bright Girl Can Do by Sally Nicholls

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

The Angel Gabriel Bit Me Once

"The Angel Gabriel bit me once..."

Those immortal words were uttered by Gertie, whilst watching her little brother perform in the (unsatisfyingly small - am I allowed to say that?) role of 'Courtier Number Two' in the KS2 nativity last week. It was the usual novel re-framing of the Christmas story, (even though this is a church school so you'd think that a 'straight' version would be encouraged). This year's was The Magical Jigsaw Puzzle.

We were commenting on how good the girl playing Gabriel was (very large role; her mother must have been pleased).

It's not the sort of behaviour you expect from God's messenger, frankly. Gertie explained that way back in the days when she was at primary school (like, last term), she was assigned as the girl's 'buddy'. Not an easy mission, given the biting.

Still, just goes to show.  Not sure what, but I'm sure it shows something. I'd love to include a picture of the biting archangel, but photographing other people's children is definitely frowned upon; so I'll concentrate on my own.

Eddie certainly made the most of Courtier Number Two, delivering all six lines with volume and expression. And helping out other members of the cast with theirs - whether they wanted him to or not, frankly.

Last day of term. Only the 'reindeer cones' for sale on the playground and PTA 'lucky dip' to dodge at pick up this afternoon and we are there. And so, as Tiny Tim said, "A Merry Christmas to us all; God bless us, every one!"

Currently reading: The End We Start From by Megan Hunter